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Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V

Hidden Mew

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I was reading through the summaries and apparently they spent 4 episodes on that one gladiator beast guy? I mean I get that it was literally the only competitive archetype GX ever put out but that's just too much.
Since I don't think you've seen the episodes yet, I don't know if you can really say that they spent too long on the BB duel. Reading summaries isn't the same thing as watching the episodes and actually seeing how it's paced out. I thought it was paced out pretty much fine and there were important developments with the duel, so it wasn't like they could have trimmed it down considerably in my opinion.

Magiana said:
And all asuka did was beat up some nameless fodders and then getting rekt by yuri who isn't even using his real deck. Anyone could have came in and saved yuzu. I doubt you can so easily replicate say the scene where Jack OTKs Yuya with some random person.
That still doesn't make her useless though. A part of me does wonder whether or not it would have been better to have a new character in place of Asuka given that she only had two duels, but that's mainly due to how poorly handled Asuka was rather than the idea that she was pointless or useless. That and the fanbase would have been less upset/disappointed with what happened in this duel with Yuri if he carded a new character rather than Asuka.
 

Master Cyrus

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Since I don't think you've seen the episodes yet, I don't know if you can really say that they spent too long on the BB duel. Reading summaries isn't the same thing as watching the episodes and actually seeing how it's paced out. I thought it was paced out pretty much fine and there were important developments with the duel, so it wasn't like they could have trimmed it down considerably in my opinion.



That still doesn't make her useless though. A part of me does wonder whether or not it would have been better to have a new character in place of Asuka given that she only had two duels, but that's mainly due to how poorly handled Asuka was rather than the idea that she was pointless or useless. That and the fanbase would have been less upset/disappointed with what happened in this duel with Yuri if he carded a new character rather than Asuka.
From the looks of it he's just a side character. Someone like that getting 4 episodes is inexcusable in a show where main characters don't even get 2 part duels. Shun and Yugo rescuing their bracelets had been pushed since their characters existed and both got one episode. While this random gets 4. ~priorities~

I think her cameo was wasted because she hasn't done anything of value so far. Why should we care about her again other than the fact that she was in GX? Because of her chest?
 

Hidden Mew

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From the looks of it he's just a side character. Someone like that getting 4 episodes is inexcusable in a show where main characters don't even get 2 part duels. Shun and Yugo rescuing their bracelets had been pushed since their characters existed and both got one episode. While this random gets 4. ~priorities~
Again, you can't really judge the episodes based on the summaries. BB wasn't the only one who got focused during those episodes. The episodes were important for the main cast and most of the characters in Yuya's group got a chance to shine at least, so it wasn't just focusing on a side character. Focusing on just the number of episodes is an extremely shallow way to look at the show. Besides that., Yugo and Shun's duels worked perfectly fine as one episodes. Yugo's duel more so given that there was more emotional weight behind it, but they didn't need to be two parters. And if you want to be technical, Yuya's duel with BB only lasted three episodes. The first episode where they dealt with BB was mainly the side plot to Shun vs. Ruri.

If you're going to judge events simply by how long they are and nothing else, you might as well just not watch the show anymore, assuming that you haven't done so already. It's one thing to keep watching the show and actually see problems within it. That at least has more of a reasonable starting point than just looking at episodes summaries and think that four episodes for one duelist is too much, especially when we didn't even really see BB's cards until two episodes after they were captured by Academia. Focusing on the number of episodes without actually seeing them is just stupid.

Magiana said:
I think her cameo was wasted because she hasn't done anything of value so far. Why should we care about her again other than the fact that she was in GX? Because of her chest?
Focusing on Asuka's breasts is one of the aspects of this fanbase that I truly hate. Not to mention it gives off such a sexist kind of vibe to me to focus on female characters' breasts or all the fanart I've seen with making their breasts even larger. Wonderful. Ugh. They were able to flesh her out pretty nicely during her first two episodes, so I don't think we're supposed to care about her just because she was in GX. They haven't done that with any of the other returning characters, so I don't think that was a factor with Asuka. I think it was nice to show that there was a GX character who wasn't on Academia side at first like Ed was, but they certainly could have done a better job with Asuka.
 

Master Cyrus

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Again, you can't really judge the episodes based on the summaries. BB wasn't the only one who got focused during those episodes. The episodes were important for the main cast and most of the characters in Yuya's group got a chance to shine at least, so it wasn't just focusing on a side character. Focusing on just the number of episodes is an extremely shallow way to look at the show. Besides that., Yugo and Shun's duels worked perfectly fine as one episodes. Yugo's duel more so given that there was more emotional weight behind it, but they didn't need to be two parters. And if you want to be technical, Yuya's duel with BB only lasted three episodes. The first episode where they dealt with BB was mainly the side plot to Shun vs. Ruri.

If you're going to judge events simply by how long they are and nothing else, you might as well just not watch the show anymore, assuming that you haven't done so already. It's one thing to keep watching the show and actually see problems within it. That at least has more of a reasonable starting point than just looking at episodes summaries and think that four episodes for one duelist is too much, especially when we didn't even really see BB's cards until two episodes after they were captured by Academia. Focusing on the number of episodes without actually seeing them is just stupid.
I dropped this show in disgust after the second duel between Yuya and Edo. I just couldn't handle the heavy handed EGAO EGAO EGAO message the show kept beating over my head. I don't care what anyone may think, I don't know of any time where you have a group of people who destroyed another group's homeland, killed and tortured most of their inhabitants, and then stuck around to torment the survivors for years only to suddenly change their minds and become all buddy buddy within the span of one card game. Fuck I'd be glad if they revealed Yuya to be some sort of demon using his powers to brainwash people with EGAO at the end of the series because that would actually make sense. Came back for Yuri because I wanted to see more of his duel and was just completely let down by it.

Regardles of whether or not it was possible for them to wrap up their duels in one episode, those two as MAIN CHARACTERS deserved more time considering those girls were their motivations for the entire plot. We didn't need more filler characters when they could have used already existing people like barret, or a captured roger back from synchro to act as mid villains. I even saw a reddit post where it showed how Japan gave the lowest niconico ratings to the battle beast episodes out of all the anime on that site.


Focusing on Asuka's breasts is one of the aspects of this fanbase that I truly hate. Not to mention it gives off such a sexist kind of vibe to me to focus on female characters' breasts or all the fanart I've seen with making their breasts even larger. Wonderful. Ugh. They were able to flesh her out pretty nicely during her first two episodes, so I don't think we're supposed to care about her just because she was in GX. They haven't done that with any of the other returning characters, so I don't think that was a factor with Asuka. I think it was nice to show that there was a GX character who wasn't on Academia side at first like Ed was, but they certainly could have done a better job with Asuka.
I don't see anything she brings to the table other than fanservice. And when they "converted" Edo that should have been enough.
 

Hidden Mew

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I dropped this show in disgust after the second duel between Yuya and Edo. I just couldn't handle the heavy handed EGAO EGAO EGAO message the show kept beating over my head. I don't care what anyone may think, I don't know of any time where you have a group of people who destroyed another group's homeland, killed and tortured most of their inhabitants, and then stuck around to torment the survivors for years only to suddenly change their minds and become all buddy buddy within the span of one card game. Fuck I'd be glad if they revealed Yuya to be some sort of demon using his powers to brainwash people with EGAO at the end of the series because that would actually make sense. Came back for Yuri because I wanted to see more of his duel and was just completely let down by it.
I loved Yuya vs. Ed. They setup his change pretty well since it wasn't just Yuya's dueling that changed his mind. He was already conflicted over his feelings from his duel with Yusho for a good year or so. Yuya's dueling just made him finally accept those feelings, so in that regard, I think that it worked. It also helped that despite being the Commander-in-Chief, Ed wasn't really a villain. His first reaction to seeing someone wondering around Heartland was to help them find their father. It was only after he found out who his father was that Ed started to get angry, so I think that showed what kind of person Ed was already. I have way more problems with all of the Academia forces and especially the people of Heartland being okay with working together. That felt like too much of a stretch even for me and one of the reasons why I would have preferred a couple more episodes building up to that part of the finale.

I'm sure many people would like that twist with Yuya, but I think that would also miss the entire point of his character and a major theme of the show. The show is all about finding hope and happiness within despair and sadness. Trying to change that by making Yuya's attempts to reach out to people the result of dark powers would feel too out of nowhere. Yuya wanting to make people smile in spite of having some short of demon monster inside of him is supposed to be inspiring, or at least I think so, and making it the result of his dark powers would go against that. It also wouldn't make any sense, despite your claim there. It has always been Yuya's goal to make people smile through his dueling, even before the dimensional war was revealed. He wanted to end the war through his dueling. It's naive and unrealistic as can be, but they set this up from pretty much day one and it does fit with the tone of the series. Throwing a twist about Yuya unknowingly brainwashing people through his dueling sounds like the kind of stuff bad fan-ficitions are made of.

Most of the complaints about Yuya's dueling reaching out to people seem to have more to do with the fact that the smile message exist more so than the execution, which is why I have a hard time taking the complaint seriously. Also because the eago meme exist and people complaining about characters smiling sounds kind of ridiculous.

Magiana said:
Regardles of whether or not it was possible for them to wrap up their duels in one episode, those two as MAIN CHARACTERS deserved more time considering those girls were their motivations for the entire plot. We didn't need more filler characters when they could have used already existing people like barret, or a captured roger back from synchro to act as mid villains. I even saw a reddit post where it showed how Japan gave the lowest niconico ratings to the battle beast episodes out of all the anime on that site.
Ruri being Shun's motivation for the entire plot is debatable at best. She is obviously important to Shun and trying to save her was how he got introduced in the first place, but she hasn't been a fixture for his character for quite awhile. The main focus for Shun's character has been his anger/trust issues for quite some time. Ruri being kidnapped was a factor into that, but they've been focusing more on Shun overcoming his personal issues and forming bonds with other characters besides his connection to Ruri. Yugo on the other hand did focus on saving Rin and we actually got at least a bit of context for their relationship prior to their duel. We didn't really know much about Shun and Ruri's relationship other than they're siblings and Shun wanted to save her.

Again, it's really hard to take your complaints about the episode time for their duels when you haven't seen the episodes and you're already too biased to really give them a chance even if you did watch them most likely. I wouldn't have been against them getting a two parter match and that could have helped the emotional impact for Shun vs. Ruri, but I don't think that being one episode each hurt either duel. The problems with Shun vs. Ruri I had could have been easily resolved if we had at least a bit more insight into their relationship, which we easily could have had with some flashbacks earlier in the series like what we had for Yugo and Rin.

Considering the impact BB had, calling him a filler character further shows how ignorant you are by judging the episode by their summaries or by how many episodes the duel lasted. New character is not the same thing as filler character and this also ties into the problem that a lot of fans have in which they don't know what the term filler means. Considering what they were going for, I don't think Barrett or Jean could have worked in a similar matter. Barrett is too closely tied with Serena to him to work outside of her and I don't think that they'd be willing to throw Jean at the Lancers if he somehow got back to this dimension. I do like the idea of Jean being used as a mini boss, but mainly so he could be carded by someone like Yuri. I don't think that the scores given on one episode really means anything, especially when the post on reddit could have easily lied about it. Regardless, I don't think that really means anything since regardless of whether or not people liked the episodes, they were important for multiple reasons and BB is not a filler character.

It's fine if you don't like the series anymore and wanted to drop it, but trying to argue against episodes that you haven't seen and are judging primarily based on summaries, how long the episodes lasted or second hand information like how the episodes are rated on other sites is just nonsensical and shows that your arguments are weak and full of ignorance.
 

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Anyway, I thought that Dennis vs. Kaito was really good. It would have been nice if Yuya and Yuzu had a more emotional reunion, but considering that they weren't separated as long as they were for Synchro and we definitely needed an emotional reunion for that moment, I was okay with the reunion being more relaxed. Plus, it was really sweet that Yuzu's first thought was about getting Yuya to see his father again. She knows how much it hurt Yuya to lose his father and how much it would mean for him to see Yusho again. It's a sweet moment that still captures how much they care about each other and helps to make up for the lack of a reunion scene for them as well.

While it made sense for Kaito to duel Dennis, it was really disappointing that Asuka didn't duel him instead, especially knowing what happens to her later on and this is the only other time I could have seen her having a duel given everything else they need to do with the story and characters. Dueling Dennis as a traitor to Academia could have been really interesting, but I think it was also important for Dennis to duel against another Xyz user who happened to be one of Yusho's students. I did like how Kaito explained that Yuya was able to reach out to him and Ed and how Yusho reacted to that. Granted, I think that Yuya reached out to Ed more than Kaito, at least more directly, but it was still nice.

The duel itself was pretty good. Dennis was fully embracing his entertainer persona with his hilarious Engrish to boot. I forgot how much I liked that about Dennis' performances. Kaito did work as the opposite to his persona with being more serious or the heel as Dennis put it. It would have been nice if we saw more of Kaito's monsters besides his Galaxy Eyes Cipher Dragon, but I can see why they'd focus on it, especially for his duel. Plus, it also works as a Zexal reference given that Kaito's deck in that series was basically to get Galaxy Eyes out as quickly as possible too. At least Dennis got some nice new cards. The fact that he has Pendulum cards is still a potential problem if Academia has been able to recreate them. Although, it is strange that Yusho hasn't reacted to them either. He didn't have any reaction when Dennis used them in their duel as well.

I also liked that Dennis said that he couldn't duel without Trapeze Magician. It ties in nicely with how connected he was to that monster and how Shun destroying it in their duel forced Dennis to reveal his mask as well. It was interesting how Trapeze Magician wasn't smiling despite laughing during the duel. That might have symbolized how Dennis was feeling given what happens at the end. He was putting on a laughing act, but wasn't actually happy. It was pretty neat how Dennis used the data on Kaito against him. Considering that he was wanted from Academia and had defeated countless soldiers beforehand, it made sense that there would be data on his deck and dueling style. Plus, it gave Kaito a significant disadvantage for once.

Dennis finally got a Performage Fusion monster, which was much more fitting with his dueling than the Obelisk Force Ancient Gear monsters. It worked as a way to identify Dennis as an Academia spy when he revealed himself, but they didn't really fit him beyond that. A Performage Fuson monster worked much better for his deck and personality. Dennis was about to make good use of both Trapeze Magician and his new Fusion monsters' special ability and it did push Kaito into a corner. It was nice that drawing Sayaka's card gave Kaito the strength to keep fighting. It was a nice way to tie in some of the other Xyz characters into the duel. It was obvious that Kaito was going to get an upgraded ace monster during this duel. I liked the armor for Neo Galaxy Eyes Cipher Dragon, but I still don't like that the two heads are basically shoulder pads. Granted, that was my problem with Neo Galaxy Eyes Photon Dragon during Zexal too. It made sense as a reference to Kaito's monster from Zexal, but it wasn't too appealing to me design wise. It still came off as pretty overpowered, even with not being able to land a direct attack on Dennis, but Kaito was able to use a pretty nice combination to get around Dennis' Pendulum cards and win the duel.

Dennis' initial reaction to losing the duel was quite interesting. Even though both he and Kaito were able to entertain the crowd like Yusho said, Dennis claimed that applause should only go to the winner. That's a very Academia-like mindset in regards to performing. Even though Dennis clearly enjoys being a performer, that attitude showed how much of a grip Academia still had on his mind. He still had more of soldier mentality in that only winners deserve applause rather than a performer mentality in that both duelists deserve applause. That's what both Yuya and Yusho strive for with Entertainment Dueling. They want to make everyone happy, including their opponents, and losing the duel doesn't change that. I also liked his reaction to Yusho offering Dennis the chance to join him and fight against Academia. You could tell that he was crying while he was making that offer and it was just too much for Dennis to handle. He didn't think he could go back to the Lancers after betraying them, but he also didn't feel like he could go back to Academia due to revealing where Rin and Ruri were. Plus, I think that Yusho's offer and his own desire to perform created some emotional confusion inside of Dennis.

When Dennis first started to move back, I actually thought that he was going to jump into the water, but carding himself instead was a huge surprise too. Out of all of the important characters that could have been carded first, I definitely wasn't expecting Dennis or especially that he'd do that to himself. I think that Dennis only being back for a couple of episodes weakens the emotional impact a bit. Some flashbacks to his time in Academia during this episode could have helped, but it was still an emotionally effective scene and it actually does fit with his character quite nicely. Despite being an Academia spy, Dennis was never much of a soldier. He clearly loved performing and entertaining people, which is why his act with the Lancers came off as so genuine, but he still thought of following Academia's orders first and foremost. Even when he found Ruri, he could have pretended that he didn't find her to keep doing his performances, but he reported his findings to Academia, caused the Heartland invasion and only felt bad that he had to stop performing as a result of finding Ruri. Even though he claimed that he had fun with the Lancers, he never even considered staying with them, which probably would have been even easier than not reporting on Ruri. He seemingly had no way of contacting Academia in the Synchro dimension and he could have just fight along side them to continue his own performance or to find personal freedom, but he didn't and he provided Academia information on the Lancers to boot. I think that the reason Dennis stayed with Academia was because he didn't have the strength or courage to choose something for himself. He was so corrupted by Academia's brainwashing, even if it was more subtle compared to other characters like Sora, that he could only imagine following their orders. He had his own personal feelings and desires, but those didn't matter compared to Academia's orders. The design of the ship's deck was a nice touch since it was split in half with Dennis standing in the middle, which I think has a nice symbolic touch to it. It says a lot about Dennis' character when the first decision he made for himself was to card himself rather than choose one side. It showed how conflicted Dennis really was in the end.

As sad as it was to see Dennis card himself, it honestly makes more sense the more I think about it. Plus, it made him a lot more interesting to me and made me appreciate that he wasn't Sora 2.0 either. Despite both of them being Academia spies, they were handled quite differently. It also further shows how Sora was able to eventually go against Academia. Sora's connection to Yuya and Yuzu were strong enough to make him want to save them and be loyal to Academia at the same time. Obviously, that wouldn't work and the connection between Yuya and Sora still felt a bit too forced for my tastes, but the point is that Sora's feelings were strong enough for him to take action. Dennis' feelings weren't and he didn't feel like the others could forgive him, even though at least Yuya would have been able to if he was genuinely sorry. Gongenzaka would have given how he reacted as well and Sora probably would have responded well due to his own history with Academia. Shun might have been able to work with Dennis given his anger issues have calmed down considerably, but might have been tricky anyone given Dennis' role in starting the invasion and kidnapping Ruri. Still, Sora had stronger ties to other characters than Dennis did and that made a world of difference for how their characters ended up.

Serena finding Yuya's group was rather suspicious. The preview looked pretty neat. Serena interacting with the other characters, despite being even more suspicious, was nice and the pirate duel looked fun too.
 

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I thought that the pirate duel was pretty good. Even though it was such an obvious trap, I liked seeing Yuya and his friends being there at the beginning. They seemed genuinely happy to be with Serena again and Yuzu being able to talk to Serena again was especially nice. Serena looked way too happy, so that alone made her more suspicious. While I don't fault the others for not doubting Serena when she said that the pirate ship was safe, as they wouldn't feel any need to doubt their friend, I was kind of surprised that they didn't ask her about how she got away from Academia. Granted, she has escaped before, but after learning the truth about Academia, one would think that they'd keep a better eye on Serena to make sure that she couldn't escape again. I guess that they were just too relieved to see that she was safe at first, but I would have expected them to ask about it as soon as it was safe.

I can understand why Gongenzaka would want Yuzu and Serena to stand back when Academia soldiers showed up since they were the targets, but at the same time, it goes against how both of them have been willing to fight to protect themselves multiple times. It was obviously a trap from the start, but I was pretty annoyed at how Yuzu ended up being captured. It is a necessity of the plot for Yuzu to end up at Academia and they needed to setup the brainwashing twist here with Serena, but the way they went about it bothered me quite a bit. Just a couple of episodes ago, Yuzu was willing to fight instead of having Yugo protect her and yet here, she was perfectly fine with hiding behind Yuya and the others along side Serena. It just felt so out of character for Yuzu and felt like a forced way to get her captured after only being safe for a couple of episodes. The fact that Serena wasn't jumping to fight Academia soldiers definitely should have been a tip off to the others if nothing else. Plus, I really wanted to see Yuya and Yuzu fight together for awhile to take down Academia. That would have been so cool. I wouldn't say that Yuzu is a plot device character, mainly because she actually has bonds with multiple characters besides Yuya and she actually has a personality. I'd sooner call Yuto a plot device character given that his primary role in the story at this point has been to introduce the plot to the main cast and merging with Yuya resulted in the Berserk Mode. I also don't fault Yuzu for crying when she was captured. She was so happy to see that Serena was safe after what happened in Synchro and being with her friends in general after everything that has happened to her would make Yuzu happy. Losing all of that and seeing Serena seemingly betray the Lancers after all that they've done would hurt her and she'd be confused as to what was going on. I still don't like how her capture was handled, but I don't think less of Yuzu for being sad about it. It was pretty weak that the captain was the only thing stopping Yuya from saving her and getting Gongenzaka and Sawatari tied up to prevent them from doing anything was pretty lame too.

Luckily, the rest of the episode was more enjoyable for me. The duel was pretty good. People have often complained about Yuya getting the right Action Card he needs at the right time, but that obviously isn't the case and especially so with this match. The captain was overwhelming him with his dirty tricks preventing Yuya from getting Action Cards. He could have gotten the Action Card that would have made him defeat the captain's monster if he didn't fall, but he still didn't. The captain's monster did have a pretty powerful effect. It wasn't quite to the point of being broken, but it seemed designed to where only another Fusion monster could destroy it.

I really liked seeing Crow jump in to save Yuya again, especially when it was the same monster that he used to save him from Security when they first met. I thought that was a nice touch. It was also a really nice surprise to see the Lancers again. Reiji driving a boat seemed way too funny to me, possibly because of how calm he was during the whole rescue and getaway scenes. Sora joining in to make the match a tag duel was a nice little surprise. I really liked Sora's reaction upon hearing the captain offering him a chance to come back to Academia and that they could work something out with the Professor. He clearly didn't like how he said it because it sounded tempting to him to some degree. Obviously, I don't see Sora double crossing the Lancers at this point. He's already decided that helping Yuya and Yuzu is more important to him than his loyalty to Academia. But that doesn't mean that Academia doesn't have any kind of affect on him. Even though he's clearly part of the Lancers now, his reaction showed that his loyalty to the Professor and his years of being at Academia has a long lasting psychological impact on him. It was a nice detail to show that made Sora's redemption arc even better in a way. It wasn't a quick and easy process, but it also still has visible psychological impact on Sora to go against Academia. It also further shows how different Sora and Dennis turned out to be. Dennis couldn't handle a decision, but Sora can, even with the bit of internal conflict it can still create in him.

It was pretty cool to see Yuya and Sora team up. It helped to give a bit more weight to their friendship to see them working together for a bit. Sora's new monster was pretty cool too. Tsukikage taking the screw from the boat was pretty funny. I liked that we learned more about what happened to the City after Yuya's group left. It was similar to how 5D's ended with Security being disbanded, but it also proved that rebuilding the City didn't just instantly happen after Yuya vs. Jack. It helped start that process, but they still need to work towards it. We just aren't going to see it on screen. It was nice that Shinji and Tokumatsu wanted Crow to go help the Lancers. Crow actually did spend time with some of the Lancers and became friends with both Yuya and Shun, so he'd be worried about them, even though he'd also want to help the City. I don't mind that Shinji didn't come along. He really wouldn't make much sense given his focus was entirely on getting the City to change and he didn't really have much connection to the Lancers. It's too bad that Tokumatsu didn't come since he was surprisingly likable and he was helping out the Lancers for awhile, but I could see why he'd want to stay in the City in order to help rebuild it. His arrest caused a lot of chaos, so he would be an important figure to help the City start anew. Besides all that, out of all of the Synchro dimension characters, Crow made the most sense as a Lancer candidate anyway. Not only did he become friends with Yuya and Shun in particular, but he knew about Academia before most of the other Synchro dimension characters and he was one of the few who recognized that defeating Academia was more important than dealing with the Tops. All of that makes him a great choice to become a Lancer. Plus, I like Crow. I've liked him in both 5D's and Arc-V, so seeing him join the Lancers is just generally awesome for me.

Sora mentioning that someone within the Professor's inner circle could brainwash people would explain why Serena would act in such a manner. I've heard people theorize on the girls being brainwashed before and I never quite liked it. It always raised too many questions for me. It is pretty awesome to see Crow join the Lancers and even Sora becoming one is pretty neat, which I never thought I'd be able to say given how much I disliked Sora for a good chuck of the series, but it is a shame that Yuzu didn't officially become a Lancer too. She was basically treated as an honorary Lancer in the Friendship Cup, but she should have officially joined the group too. At least Yuya and the others being determined to work together as they headed towards Academia was a pretty cool way to end the episode.

The preview looked pretty nice. We get to see Yugo and Kaito have duels going on at the same time, so that should be neat.
 

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I thought that the episode with Yugo and Kaito's duels against the tower guardians was pretty neat. I liked seeing where Yugo ended up after Yuzu's bracelet teleported him away. I thought that he would face Yuri due to the opening, but he landed right in the middle of a classroom in Academia and they had the return of Yugo's name gag, which was pretty funny timing. There was a little Easter Egg on the board with Ryo's name on it, so that was most likely a nod to his GX character. That was pretty awesome, especially when I was hoping he'd be chosen among the GX characters for a return at first. Considering what happened to Yuzu, I don't know if it would have been better or worse for her if she did teleport with Yugo again. She still would have been in danger and probably captured, but possibly not as quickly as it ended up happening instead.

I was surprised that Yugo could hide his D-Wheel at all at the school or avoid confrontations. He was able to hide for awhile along with it, but one would think he'd be a walking target and people would be challenging him to a duel relatively quickly. Seeing Kaito attack Yugo when he popped up was kind of funny though. I loved how exciting he got once he heard about Rin. He just wanted to know right away and head off to find her. It showed how impulsive he can be and how he'd do anything to find Rin. Both Kaito and Yugo coming across guardians of the towers was pretty neat. One would think that they'd have more security for these towers, but I'm sure that the girls' locations are a secret that not too many people know about. Plus, both towers seem pretty far out of the way.

The duel themselves were fine. I actually kind of liked how their duels mirrored each other, especially with their ace monsters. I also thought it was interesting how the two guardians had similar strategies, but they had different effects on their opponents. Yugo's life points were lowered with each attack, while Kaito's monsters were drained with every attack to increase his opponent's life points. I thought that was a pretty cool way to make the duels different yet similar at the same time. I also liked how Yuya and the others were trying to figure out more about the brainwashing power during the duel. Since there are Yuzu counterparts for every dimension, they could play some key role in the Arc Area Project. A common theory for quite a long time is that the Yuzu counterparts are the power source for the Arc Area Project, but I don't know if they'd need to brainwash them for something like that.

I thought that it was really sweet how Yugo thought of Rin right as he was drawing his last card. He was so close to finding her again after all this time, so he would be extremely eager to find Rin again. Plus, he did have a cool combination to win the duel. Kaito's victory was especially cool since he brought out both versions of his ace monster to win. Even with how his development in this series hasn't been handled too well, I think I like Arc-V Kaito more than Zexal Kaito now, or at least I find him more entertaining in this series. They're still going for the rule of cool factor for Kaito, but not as much as they did in Zexal to where it's distracting for me or where they're trying way too hard to make him cool. I liked him a bit more in the Zexal manga and I finished that series recently, so that could have affected my view on his character as a whole. Or maybe I just got a kick out of fans making jokes like how Kaito got revenge on the moon after he died there in Zexal due to his surprisingly brutal final attack on the Moon Guardian. Now those are the kind of fan jokes I can get behind since it doesn't belittle characters.

Some people thought that this match should have been a two parter, but I think it was fitting as a one episode duel. I could understand feeling that the matches were rushed, but they were against minor characters who didn't even reveal their faces. The main draw was to get both Yugo and Kaito into the tower and doing that as soon as possible makes sense from both a character and story perspective. They were both close to Rin and Ruri, they'd want to get to them as soon as possible, especially Yugo who has been worried about finding Rin since his debut, and there wasn't a lot less going on in this episode besides their duels. If the guardians were a bigger deal instead of just another challenge to get to the girls or there was a bigger side plot going, maybe a two part duel could have worked, but I don't think one for this match was necessary.

Kaito's reunion with Ruri felt pretty hallow. It made sense given that he's saving his friend's sister rather than focusing on his connection to Ruri specifically, which seems to be more classmates than anything else, but the previews made that a bit better. Yugo's reunion with Rin was both memorable and emotional. It actually looked like Yugo was going to try to kiss Rin based on how his lips looked as he was running up to her, which could have been a cute moment. I was not expecting Rin to kick Yugo right in the stomach or for Yugo to make that expression. That was a fitting expression for someone being kicked right in the stomach, but it looked way more detailed than I expected it to be. I feel like fans have put Rin and especially Ruri on a high pedestal since prior to the last few episodes, we didn't know much about them, so it was easier to imagine personalities for them. I liked that Rin's actual personality clashed with those fan theories I've been seeing for awhile. She was clearly afraid of being at Academia for a long time and that transformed into anger since she wanted Yugo to come find her sooner, but she was clearly still relieved to see that Yugo had come for her and she broke down in tears. Seeing Yugo and Rin hug was quite sweet. And then we got that extremely creepy smile from the guy with Leo and from Rin. That did end the episode on a good cliffhanger, but it was so unsettling and clashed with the more emotional reunion scene.

The preview looked pretty good. Shun coming back with Ed is pretty cool. I thought it would take longer for them to come back, but I'm perfectly fine with them coming back sooner than expected. One of the problems I had with Kaito saving Ruri was that there wasn't really any emotional weight to it due to the lack of their connection. While I don't think that they've done much to showcase Shun's connection to Ruri beyond being siblings, Shun saving Ruri makes a lot more sense. Even though I'm still a bit mixed on the brainwashing twist, I am glad that it means that Kaito didn't really save Ruri and so that Shun can try to save her instead. Plus, I like Ed and seeing him again is always awesome. Yugo vs. Rin should be quite an emotional duel as well.
 

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I thought that Yugo vs. Rin was really good. I liked how Yugo looked embarrassed to be hugging Rin, tried to let go and then held onto her again when she wouldn't let go herself. It was a cute little detail that showed how much he really likes her. Then Rin wanted to duel him and then pushed him out a window. Well that escalated quickly. Ruri did the same thing to Kaito, but at least Shun and Ed were there to save him. Shun was way more calm about Ed, a former Academia member helping him, than I thought he'd be, but he wanted to save Ruri himself and wanted to help the others as well. Plus, Sayaka and Allen probably helped him with how the Academia forces there decided to help Heartland as a result of Yuya's duel against Ed and that made him more comfortable with Ed. He recovered really fast given that they probably haven't even been in the Fusion dimension for a whole day, but I don't mind that. It seemed weird to put Shun out of commission for just a short amount of time, but being back sooner than expected isn't bad. While Kaito has been a bit more entertaining in this series than I thought he would be, I am glad that he didn't end up saving Ruri. Shun has more of a connection to Ruri than Kaito does and Kaito doing that would have felt too forced and without any emotional weight behind it. It was nice to see Ed being so happy before Kaito told them the news about Ruri. Shun was pretty shocked and Kaito chasing after him once he told Ed about Yugo made sense.

Yugo not being hurt after falling right on his D-Wheel was kind of a miracle to itself. That was a pretty big fall and he didn't have his helmet on, but it was pretty sweet how he was worried about whether or not he broke his D-Wheel. The flashbacks for this episode were so cute. I really liked Rin's expression when she saw Yugo's plans for a D-Wheel. It was so cute and hilarious at the same time. I also liked that they did build their D-Wheel together. Considering how rough the Commons had back then, it was impressive that they could make a D-Wheel at all with just whatever little they could find or afford. It showed more of their friendship, showed that Rin herself was pretty smart to be a good mechanic as well and gave more of a reason why Yugo duels with his D-Wheel all the time, even when his other opponents rarely have a D-Wheel themselves. It's the symbol of their friendship and it carries all of their hopes and dreams, so of course Yugo would use it all the time. He clearly loves Rin and wouldn't take something like their precious D-Wheel for granted. I also liked that the book Rin was reading from in the flashback was call Yusei Gears. It was a nice little Easter Egg and I love those kind of details in the show. It helps to make the series feel more like a celebration of the franchise.

The duel itself was pretty good. I really liked Rin's Ice deck. Ice monsters tend to look pretty cool, no pun intended, to me, so that was a neat surprise. I also thought it was a cute touch how she was using Crystal monsters to connect back to Yugo's Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon. Her witch monster also made me think of it as a possible reference to Aki from 5D's, but that might be just a stretch on my part. I really liked how Yugo pointed out that Rin was as ruthless as ever with her attack. She was obviously brainwashed by Academia, but they didn't try to claim that she was made into a stronger duelist as a result of Academia's actions. That would have been so easy for them to do and I do appreciate that they didn't try to water down her attack on Yugo. While Arc-V has its fair share of problems with handling female characters, I do like that they still present the female duelists as being strong without trying to water it down somehow. Yugo's new horse monster was pretty neat and I liked how he tried to use Clear Wing Synchro Dragon to reach out to Rin, even though she just weakened it instead.

Finding out how the girls have been brainwashed was so intense and disturbing. I was not expecting something like bugs planted right inside their brains. It sounded like it's new technology, which would explain why they didn't use this on Serena earlier to make her stop trying to escape or use it on their entire army. Those were some of my biggest problems with the whole brainwashing twist, so I was glad to see that they kind of addressed those issues. I'm just not sure why they'd need to be brainwashed. The Doctor mentioned something about how the girls have to defend themselves and if their roles in Academia's plans require them to duel, then that would make sense as well.

I liked the conversation with Yuya's group. Reiji finally bringing everyone up to speed with what happened to him and Yusho three years ago was nice, even though I'm still surprised that Yuya and Reiji didn't know each other prior to the start of the series. Both of their fathers knew each other, they helped with the creation of the Solid Vision system, Reiji asked Yusho for help when he first wanted to work on creating the Lancers and Yusho was so convinced that he could reach out to Leo that he used a dimensional teleporter to find him without telling anyone about it. It just still seems strange to me that they didn't know about each other until the series began. Revival Zero sounded so ominous and instantly made me think of Zero Reverse from 5D's. Revival Zero being anything like that would be quite bad. Based on the file that Reiji found, it seemed like Academia does have a plan for the Yuya counterparts. They already had Yuri and Serena on file, so they must have been aware of other dimensional counterparts for quite some time. That does make it even stranger how Academia has been so focused on just the Yuzu counterparts all this time if he does need all eight of them. Although, he could have figured that all of the Yuya and Yuzu counterparts are connected to some degree and their capture would eventually lead them to their base, which is basically how things have turned out. Even though Yuto being merged with Yuya could have some unforeseen complications to their plans.

Rin getting a Fusion monster with that bug monster was pretty creepy, mainly due to how it attached itself to the monster. The monster itself had a pretty cool design and the summoning chant was neat. Rin's attack was so brutal that it destroyed Yugo's D-Wheel. I felt so bad for Yugo since he poured his heart throughout the duel to reach out to Rin and not only did she destroy what was precious to both of them, she didn't even care. She was cold and calm throughout the whole duel, even with Yugo becoming more emotional as the match went on. It was pretty cool how Yugo summoned Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon and he was finally able to do some damage to Rin's life points.

Yugo was worried about Rin after doing that damage, but he seemed so relieved when she seemed back to normal. The way he was crying over Rin was pretty similar to how Yuya was crying for Yuzu when they were reunited. We've seen Yugo be emotional over Rin before, but he still seems like a pretty upbeat person despite losing her and growing up in a rough place like the Commons. Rin has been his emotional rock and we can see through the flashbacks how much they relied on each other. Losing her would hit him pretty hard and in turn, feeling like she was finally back after this emotional duel would provide a sense of relief. They really used that scene to fake the audience out since it really did seem like Rin was back to normal before talking about her monsters' effect. She still had life points, but with the way they were playing the scene, it seemed like Rin was free from Academia's control. I definitely wasn't expecting Yugo to lose to anyone who isn't Yuri, so that threw me off my guard. Rin's Fusion monster obviously gave her an advantage, but I liked that everything about Rin's dueling seemed normal to Yugo until the bug monster came out. These past two episodes really did wonders for Rin's personality and I do appreciate that. She wouldn't be one of my favorite characters, but they were able to establish more of her actual personality and flesh out her relationship with Yugo quite nicely through these two episodes, so that is pretty cool. Seeing the bug in Serena's ears after locking Yuzu away was so creepy though.

I still don't have a problem with this being a one episode match either. While it wouldn't have hurt to make it longer, I don't think it was absolutely necessary to go in that direction. They were able to cover what they needed to in one episode. They established more of Rin's personality, used the flashbacks effectively to convey more of Yugo and Rin's relationship, expanded a bit more on the brainwashing twist and was able to create an emotional duel due the combination of how much the audience knows that Yugo cares about Rin and the flashbacks providing some new context to their relationship. It was effective and didn't really need to be a two-parter for the shake of it or because Yugo's goal this entire time has been to rescue Rin, especially when he still doesn't rescue her at the end of the match. She leaves him lying unconscious as she heads back to Academia, which was both cool and sad at the same time. It worked perfectly fine as a one episode match for me and it never felt rushed. Although, aside from the conclusion to the Xyz arc, I still think that the pacing is pretty much fine anyway.

At least the Lancers finally landed on the island. And Crow still has his D-Wheel as the others are running towards the cliff. That was just fantastic. Plus, it's neat to see the Lancers work together as a team. The preview looked pretty good. Both the scenery and the concept of a Survival Duel reminded me of GX's third season, which really explains a lot in retrospect, so that would make it more difficult for Yuya and the others.
 

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I thought the episode where the Lancers first arrived at Academia was pretty good. I had forgotten how much Sawatari could annoy me. Not only did he take credit for what Yuya did in the other dimensions, but he called him a Hyper Strong Duelist, despite losing all the time. I understand that's suppose to be the joke and Sawatari can be funny at times, but his cocky attitude just makes him feel obnoxious. Sora was cocky for quite awhile and that was a big issue I had with his character until his redemption, but at least he actually had the skills to back it up. Sawatari has shown some skills a couple of times, but he still doesn't have enough to back up all of his talk. I've also never quite understood the appeal of Sawatari. I know that he's the comedy relief, but he doesn't come off as particularly interesting beyond that and it's not like they can't have a comedy relief character with depth. Sawatari has always felt like the poor man's Manjoume from GX to me in that he has all of the comedy relief antics to make him at least entertaining to some, but minus all of the depth and development he had. Manjoume had quite a bit of development just within the first season of GX and while Sawatari isn't exactly the same as he was when he first appeared, his development always felt more shallow and hallow to me compared to characters like Yuya, Reira, Sora and even Shun. He just feels like a joke of a character who was forced into the Lancers. I really wouldn't be surprised if he was included among the Lancers at the last minute. It would explain why he disappeared for long stretches of time before in the first couple of arcs and why he hasn't really done a whole lot to help the Lancers at this point. He's far from a pointless character, but he doesn't really offer much to the Lancers in terms of strength and he feels like he was included due to being more popular than initially expected.

Crow climbing up the hill with his D-Wheel was so wonderful though. That's the kind of ridiculous yet cool stuff that I love about this franchise. I also liked that we saw more of the Lancers working together. They were split up again, but they did plan it ahead of time and it does make sense for Sora to get Reiji and Reira to Leo as soon as possible. While Leo probably doesn't know about Reira due to how he was adopted well after he took over Academia, Reiji would want to confront his father and that could help them in defeating Academia and Sora would be the only one in the group to know the area well enough to guide them. They also obviously wouldn't want to separate Reiji and Reira again, so the split up made sense and Reiji meeting with his father again should be quite interesting. It's too bad that Yuya's group was captured relatively soon though.

The jungle Field Spell definitely reminded me of the underground lab from GX's third season, which is still so fitting given everything that happens here. Yuya's refusal to take part in the Survival Duel made sense given that he wouldn't want to card anyone, but Sawatari was right for once in that Yuya would be carded if he didn't duel, so they pretty much had to do it. Tsukikage going off ahead due to his own guilt was understandable given his honorable nature, even though that was a really huge red flag in retrospect. Sawatari running off was stupid, but fitting for his character and Crow would want to keep everyone together, even though he got lost for awhile as well.

The concept of a Survival Duel was pretty disturbing, especially when none of the students seemed to know about the mysterious beast there at first. It seemed like Sanders was trying to use the Lancers as a means to distract the others from suspecting anything when his own students started to disappear from the monitor. They seemed to think it was just a bug in the system instead of their teacher trying to throw their fellow students to a monster. I really liked how they handled the conflict among the students Sanders sent after the Lancers. Even though they were the top of their class, they never set foot on a battlefield before or even consider that they could be carded as well. That concern came up with one student and he was just dismissed as a coward. It really showed how deep the brainwashing at Academia can go among just their regular students. They aren't focused on what could happen to them, what they're doing to other people or really anything about their own feelings and opinions. They're being turned into robotic soldiers that can bring glory to Academia and it was shown quite effectively.

I was hoping that we'd see Tsukikage's last duel, especially when I didn't think that they'd card him off screen at this point, but I can see why that didn't happen. They wanted to make the monster more mysterious for another couple of episodes. It was still pretty disappointing though. I felt so sad for Yuya when he started to cry over Tsukikage when they found he was turned into a card. Even though Ed told them that carded people can be restored, it is still sad for them to lose friends like that and the process to revert them back to normal might not be as easy as they hope it is. I wouldn't be too surprised if they threw some twist about the restoration process at some point. Tsukikage was able to give them a message to let them know that there was another person besides the two groups here, which showed how loyal and honorable he was to his mission until the end. While he wasn't one of my favorite characters in the case, Tsukikage did become surprisingly likable and useful to the Lancers. When he first joined the group, I thought that he would just be there as the sacrificial Lancer and that he wouldn't make it out of the Synchro arc at all. Instead, he proved to be quite useful during the arc, was fleshed out a bit more during his duels, developed a nice friendship with Reira and made a surprisingly good team with Sora. For a character I thought wouldn't even make it out of the Miami Championship finals, let alone make it all the way until the Lancers got to Academia, he was pretty cool and more interesting than I ever would have expected.

It was good to see that Yugo was okay after his duel with Rin and meeting Ed was pretty cool too. He was able to provide more information on the girls' brainwashing. Having to defeat the Doctor in order to save them might be kind of difficult given that he's often close by to the Professor. Ed seemed to be confused about Yugo's comment on the bug. Maybe he remembered something about that since they lingered on that shot before the episode ended.

The preview looked pretty good. Shun vs. Ruri is an interesting concept and it could make for a good duel.
 

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I really need to work on getting caught up with the episodes. Part of it is just wanting to enjoy talking about individual episodes like this for awhile longer though.

Anyway, I thought that Shun vs. Ruri was pretty good. It was nice to see Shun had a nice little reunion with Ruri. She was obviously still going to be brainwashed, but they had a nice hug and Shun genuinely seemed happy to see her again. They also remembered that the guardian was still knocked out from her duel with Kaito, so that was neat. While the whole brainwashing twist is still strange, at least it allowed for Shun to duel her instead of Kaito. I do find Kaito more entertaining in this series than in Zexal for some reason, but he has dueled quite a few times already and he wouldn't really have any connection to Ruri. Granted, the connection between Shun and Ruri is pretty weak in my opinion, but it's more than what Kaito would have had if he faced off against her.

The duel itself was pretty good. I liked Ruri's deck. It seemed like it would work nicely for someone fighting frequently against Academia soldiers. She used cute low level monsters to create a low rank monsters, but it had quite a few useful abilities. Being able to attack directly multiple times and protect itself from destruction due to its overlay units would make it difficult to destroy and damage her life points too. It was interesting how Ruri got upset when Shun said that she had nothing on him. She was brainwashed, but that could have been hinting at some anger issues for Ruri as well. She mentioned that Shun wasn't the kind of person who would lose to their sister and he didn't deny that. That does give the impression that there was a bad relationship between them, or at least a less positive one than we normally see between siblings in this franchise.

Ruri getting a Fusion monster was obvious, but I was expecting a more shocked or horrified reaction from Shun. This was his little sister using the enemies' weapon after all. At least it did make it clear to Shun that Ruri was brainwashed by Academia. I didn't like how the Parasite Fusioner was focused around her monster's breast. Even the shots of its chest and thighs beforehand were a bit too much. It just felt like too awkward and kind of out of place with the situation. It did have a nice design otherwise though. Ruri's monsters were also doing quite a number on Shun's life points and he was clearly struggling near the end. The flashback did provide a bit more context to Shun and Ruri's relationship. It seemed that Shun always had some kind of anger problem if he was upset at Ruri for possibly taking a card from the winner like that. It does still present their relationship in a less positive light than I was expecting and I was okay with that. I just wish that they would have explored that a bit more since that could have been a really interesting angle. Maybe have part of Shun's desire to save Ruri be not just because he's the older brother, but because he was the older brother who was too angry and careless around her and felt guilt over his actions that he thought could have led to her being kidnapped. That would have been really interesting and given more insight into their relationship.

It was able to show that Shun has changed since then. Granted, I don't think his development has been handled as well as it could have been, but being with the Lancers did change him and I do like his friendship with Yuya, despite how little interactions they've actually had at this point. I liked how he was able to use an Xyz monster for a Cross Xyz summon and his new monster was pretty cool. I'm a bit mixed on Ruri being able to break out of the brainwashing for a moment. On one hand, I don't think that her relationship with Shun alone is compelling enough to where seeing him in pain would snap her out of it. We didn't really have much context to their relationship prior to this episode other than that they're siblings. Rin struggling with attacking Yugo would have worked since we do have a good insight into their relationship. Serena breaking free of the parasite to warn Yuzu would have been perfect because of her own prideful warrior nature and how she wanted to find Yuzu before as well. Doing that with Ruri, a character who hasn't had much personality up to this point, doesn't work quite as well as it could have been. On the other hand, it wasn't just Shun that shook her out of it. Shun used the card that Sakaya gave her, which in turn she gave to Kaito. She was reminded of her connection to three people instead of just Shun. Even with Yugo and Rin, he was trying to break Rin free by focusing on stuff like their D-Wheel and Clear Wing Synchro Dragon. She cares about that and he was focusing on their dreams and bond rather than just on material possessions, but it wasn't focused on himself and I imagine Rin cares more about Yugo than his cards or their D-Wheel.

Plus, there wasn't a reason for Shun to lose, especially when that could have felt too much like a repeat of the previous match, and one could argue that the parasite or the control on Ruri had some problems when it seems like this matter of controlling them is new technology. It was pretty clear that Shun would have lost if Ruri didn't stop herself from activating her monster's effect, so that kind of helps a bit. The Doctor was a lot creepier when he wasn't talking though.

I still don't think it was necessary to make this match last for more than an episode. While that could have helped to give more insight into Shun and Ruri's relationship, doing that all in this match wouldn't have made it work. One of the reasons why Yugo vs. Rin was more emotionally effective in my opinion was because we knew how much Yugo cared about Rin and had insights into their relationship. It wasn't a huge amount simply due to how it was all from his perspective and Rin was captured before the series began, but it was enough to see that they did care about each other and that dueling against Rin would be heartbreaking for Yugo. Even his gag of seeing Rin in Yuzu and Serena is a sign of how much he missed and cared for Rin. We did get more flashbacks during their duel and that definitely did help, but that wasn't the first insight into their relationship. It expanded on what the audience already knew about them and helped to give Rin more personality, which is a huge difference from the flashback in this episode.

We didn't really get any insight into Shun and Ruri's relationship prior to this episode. We knew that Shun wanted to save Ruri. He appeared in Standard to find Reiji in order to trade him for Ruri since he knew who the Professor was after all. But unlike with Yugo, Ruri hasn't been a center focus to his character. There is more to Yugo's personality than just Rin, but finding Rin has always been his goal. He is willing to do anything and everything to find her. He darted out of the Friendship Cup stadium just to chase after Yuri when he saw him again because he knew that Yuri kidnapped Rin. Shun trying to find Ruri was his reason for joining the cast and the Lancers in general, as he was under the assumption that they'd go straight to Academia after the Miami Championship, but that hasn't been the central focus for his character in a long time. They've been focusing on his anger/trust issues with the other Lancers since at least the tail end of the Miami Championship, if not Synchro. That made sense given that he was full of anger and that was a conflict that they could deal with in the present instead of focused entirely on Shun's past, but that's why I think it's debatable to say that Ruri has been Shun's goal. He wanted to save her of course and her kidnapping was part of his anger/trust issues, but it wasn't a consistent focus of his character like Rin has been for Yugo. We know that Shun wants to save Ruri, but we don't have anything as to why besides that they're siblings. That's not a bad motivation per say, but there isn't much to care about there when we don't know how their relationship works beyond that. I think that the old photo in Yuto's locker with all three of them was the first time Shun and Ruri were shown together. There was no weight behind their relationship to make a duel between them emotionally effective because we knew little, if anything, about it prior to this episode.

We could have easily gained more insight into their relationship throughout the series. Even if Yuto was still barely present after merging with Yuya for awhile, we could have gotten some flashbacks from Shun's perspective. We could have gotten a bit of that in the Xyz arc, but that wasn't the only time we could have gotten that and that's one reason why I don't understand why people thought it needed to be longer for the Xyz characters, especially when we didn't really learn about Shun and Ruri's relationship until they got to Fusion. I still would have liked to see Shun having guilt over how he treated Ruri to factor into his desire to save her. That would have been an interesting concept for both his character and their relationship. Although, a part of me isn't too surprised that this didn't happen when they were interested in keeping Ruri's design a secret for way too long, which probably wasn't the best idea in retrospect. Regardless, the issues I had with this episode could have been easily resolved if we knew more about Shun and Ruri's relationship going into the match, much like we did with Yugo and Rin. It was still an enjoyable episode, but it wasn't as emotionally effective as it could have been due to how the series has handled both Shun and Ruri's characterizations more than anything else, which wouldn't have been resolved with just another episode.

Besides all that, giving the match another episode wouldn't have worked out too well when Ruri would still be brainwashed. Granted, we didn't know that at the time, but spending two episodes on the match when Ruri would still be under Academia's control wouldn't be the best idea. Even if we could get more insight into their relationship, I'm not sure if it would have been worthwhile at this point when the end result would have been the same. It just doesn't seem like this match needed to be longer than one episode or would have significantly benefited from that in the long run.

At least Yuya and Gongenzaka are still safe, despite being lost in the jungle. Sawatari was seriously lucky with that fall and Crow finding him. The episode did end on a pretty creepy cliffhanger, even though I still find Sawatari annoying for calling himself a Hyper Strong Duelist at this point.

The preview looked pretty good. Yuya and Gongenzaka teaming up against the mysterious beast duelist sounds pretty neat.
 

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I thought that the first episode of the BB match was really good. It was still annoying to see Sawatari praise himself as such a strong duelist. I still understand that's supposed to be the joke, but it's not really funny and it's way more annoying that he's still a cocky jerk even at this point of the series. Crow did seem to see through Sawatari act, or at least recognized that they weren't strong enough to beat this mysterious duelist. Attacking Sawatari so that he could break his Duel Disk and force him out of the duel was unexpected, but fitting with his character. Sawatari is a kid, he recognized that he was in danger and did what he could in order to protect him. That pretty much saved Sawatari from being carded.

I initially thought that the other Academia students didn't know about the mysterious duelist, but I guess something like a monster like duelist carding everyone in front of him would attract rumors among the student body. It was still really unsettling how none of them had a problem with how the top students of their class were thrown into danger or had any concern that they could meet the same fate. It fits with how Academia has brainwashed basically all of its students. Only the strong survive and if someone loses, then they deserve their fate. They are programmed to be robotic soldiers, so questioning Academia's methods and teaching wouldn't cross their minds on their own like that. It was still pretty creepy though.

It was cool how Crow at least tried his best to end the match in a tie and his last card was quite symbolic too. I was glad that Yuya and Gongenzaka got to the scene surprisingly fast after seeing Crow's card, but that whole scene was just so painful to watch. I'm pretty sure BB broke Crow's arm before he carded him too based on his reaction and the sound he made after landing on top of Crow. Crow's last words to Yuya, Yuya, Gongenzaka and Sawatari all running over to save Crow, Crow thinking about his kids and Yuya crying out for Crow was heartbreaking and tragic. It's really amazing how the previous episode wasn't emotionally effective for me, but this episode just hit me right in the heartstrings. And it wasn't just because Crow is a popular 5D's character. We got to know this version of Crow and he does have some differences to separate him from his 5D's counterpart. We saw him develop a nice little friendship with Yuya over the course of the Synchro arc, which was one reason why seeing Crow get carded was so hard on Yuya. This was the first time he's seen someone get carded in person since the Battle Royale and it was a good friend of his to boot. It was pretty depressing. Sure, Ed told them before that the process can be reversed, but we don't know how true that actually is or if there's any catch with restoring people back from cards. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if there is some kind of twist given that they brought up that possibility before starting to card the main/supporting casts. It's still as close to death as the series will most likely get, for the main cast at least, and it's still a big tear jerker. I've always liked Crow in all of his appearances and he's always been a pretty cool and likable character, but I didn't expect that losing him would hit me that hard. He's been taken out of the action in the 5D's anime and manga, but not to this extent, so that could be one reason why it hurt more.

Sawatari running over to grab Crow's card before BB could step on it might be one of the best things he's done in the entire series. He even started to cry over Crow's card once he realized that he did that to save him. I never would have expected Crow to get carded off before Sawatari of all characters. I fully expected Sawatari to go after Tsukikage did since he's the most expendable of the Lancers now and I didn't think that they'd start carding the returning characters until we were closer to the big bad of the series for some reason. I really hope that Sawatari gets some actual character development from this event. He is the comedy relief character, but that doesn't mean that he can't get development and still fit that role. Manjoume from GX was the comedy relief of that series and still had some pretty solid development. He had problems too, but he does come off as Sawatari done better to me at this point. Plus, as I mentioned before, his stick is way more annoying than funny to me at this point. This isn't the time to be the comedy relief goofball. They're in Academia, the base of operation for their enemy. This the time to be at least a bit more serious than that.

Sawatari has changed from his earlier appearances, as early Sawatari probably wouldn't be interested in working with Yuya or helping him out like he has done, but I feel like that's kind of minor, which is why I said actual character development before. Compared to characters like Yuya, Reira, Sora and even Shun, it doesn't feel like Shun has changed all that much, or at least not enough to be noteworthy. He feels stuck in his comedy relief role, especially when he hasn't had a lot of moments to shine and the writers often treat him like a joke, while other characters have been able to grow out of simple roles like that. That's why I don't really find him all that interesting. He's not awful, but just kind of annoying and I do find him a bit overrated with how much fans seem to like him. I'll be pretty upset if this doesn't lead to development for him, but fortunately, I'm pretty positive that is the case. He was a lot more serious for the rest of the episode, so hopefully that means that this is building up to his development. I just want him to take this experience to heart, recognize that Crow basically gave up his life to save Sawatari and to learn from it. Let him understand that he can't just talk a big act anymore, but that he actually has to back it up and help his fellow Lancers.

The duel itself was pretty good and I did like that Yuya and Gongenzaka finally had a tag duel, even though it was hard to focus on it at first since seeing Crow get carded within the first ten minutes of the episode really caught me off-guard and made me pretty sad for awhile. BB's strategy was pretty impressive though. His monsters can't be destroyed in battle, their effects allow him to bring out more monsters, as well as destroy his opponents' monsters, and his Trap card combo allowed him to do cause more damage for both players. It was a pretty effective combination and his deck didn't leave much room for his opponents to counterattack, so that would explain why he was so difficult for the other characters to defeat. Being hidden in the shadows for so long might have also thrown them off their guard, but even then, his strategy was pretty solid. It was pretty cool to see Gongenzaka get a new Synchro monster and going for a direct attack was a pretty good idea, but it was too bad that BB had another Trap card to protect himself.

His strategy really made both Yuya and Gongenzaka vulnerable to his attacks. I really liked how Yuya quickly realized that Gongenzaka couldn't use an Action Card to protect himself like he could and then made sure that BB attacked him instead. It was a sweet moment that showed how much Yuya cares about Gongenzaka. It did put Yuya in a pretty tight spot, especially when BB prevented him from getting another Action Card. Gongenzaka grabbing an Action Card was so shocking and huge for so many reasons. We have seen how much Gongenzaka's Steadfast Dueling style means to him. Obviously, part of it is because of how his deck can't really work with Spells and Traps, but he is determined to improving on the Steadfast Dueling and sticking to it since the beginning of the series. But Gongenzaka went against his dueling style and grabbed an Action Card in order to defend Yuya. Yuya matters more to Gongenzaka than himself or his Steadfast Dueling. He basically made his deck useless in order to save Yuya. That was such a sweet and heartwarming scene. It really showed their friendship and I really liked that. As much as I love Yuya and Yuzu's friendship, they haven't focused too much on Yuya and Gongenzaka's connection for awhile, so I thought that was really nice and refreshing. He was obviously going to lose, but going that far to save Yuya and act as his shield was just so sweet. I love their friendship so much.

I really did look like Gongenzaka was about to be carded, which would have just crushed poor Yuya's heart and made the episode even more depressing for me, but fortunately, Jack returned to save the day. That was an awesome way to end the episode with Jack's entrance.

The preview looked pretty good. I love the idea of Yuya and Jack teaming up together. That's the stuff dreams are made of as far as I'm concerned and I'd love to see more interactions between two of my favorite characters in the franchise as well.
 

Arceus the Dragon

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I prefer the original series with Yugi to be honest. The other series don't feel right for me. And I don't get these new kind of cards like turners and that. I am use to fusion, ritual, effect, normal, magic and trap cards.
 

Hidden Mew

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Before I attempt to get back to talking Arc-V episodes, which will be probably even more difficult with Sun/Moon just a couple of days away, I do want to mention that Crunchyroll finally has legal Arc-V subs available. They have the first fifteen episodes already up, they'll go up to episode thirty next week, have up to episode forty by the end of the month and then give out five episodes every Tuesday starting in December, except for the first Tuesdays of the month since that's when they'll have DM subs. This is just fantastic news and it makes me so happy. I've been wanting legal Arc-V subs for ages and the timing here with getting them just as new Pokemon games are around the corner makes it all the more wonderful. I plan on taking my time with rewatching the series, but seeing the first two episodes again alone made me so incredibly happy. I still love the series immensely, but seeing the start of it again, hearing how different everyone sounded when they were first getting into their roles, how innocent and carefree everyone/everything was and seeing a bit of the foreshadowing in play even back then made me so happy. It's so wonderful and magical.

I highly recommend to check out the subs if you can do so. You can watch the videos for free, even though Crunchyroll's video play is kind of weird with the placement of those ages, but that is an option to support the official release. I've basically stopped watching the dub. I may get back to that if Nicktoons starts airing more episodes or more likely they'll put the episodes legally online somewhere, but this is really the best way for me to support the official release and I have been wanting legal Arc-V subs for so long. While we do have subs of nearly every series at this point, it's still amazing whenever that does happen in this franchise, especially when people thought we'd never get DM subs or really any legal subs, so I just want to stress how great this is as a fan of the series and the franchise in general. It's just terrific.

Anyway, I thought that the continuation of the BB was pretty good. Jack's entrance was so cool. It was kind of strange that he didn't consider himself a Lancer. He basically is since he came all this way to help Yuya's group, but I really liked that he said he was an ally to Yuya. It was nice to see Yuya and Jack interacting again, especially when it is sooner than I had expected beforehand. It was nice to see why Jack left the City. The kids being so worried about Crow and Jack's comment about how their love for Crow surpassed the dimensions was touching, as well as made Crow's carding even more depressing. Admittedly, I think it made more sense for Jack to stay behind to help the City reform as their former King, but the City was trying to go beyond Commons and Tops. Plus, I figured that Jack would come to help Yuya. They were able to form a nice connection through their previous duel and clearly have immense respect for each other, so he would be worried about Yuya and wanting to help him. It's still too bad that we don't see how Tokumatu is doing, but Jack coming in to help works more since he's both more marketable and he's a much bigger help to the Lancers as well.

Jack's reaction upon seeing Crow's card was quite emotional and intense. I still wish that we knew exactly what their history was in this universe, but he was still enraged seeing how someone that the kids cared about so deeply was carded. I still like how Sawatari sounded so serious when explaining the situation. I prefer serious Sawatari over annoying Sawatari. Poor Yuya sounded like he was near tears when he said that they should have been stronger. At least Jack was determined to avenge Crow. Plus, I still stand by the notion that a Yuya and Jack tag duel is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Jack started off strong with not only getting his ace monster out, but he also destroyed BB's monster through its effect. He had a pretty nice combo to get rid of BB's combo as well. I love how Jack thought that there was something strange about that Trap card because of how it had pushed Yuya into a corner. He has so much respect for Yuya and knew he wouldn't be defeated easily. Their interactions are so wonderful and seeing that two of my favorite characters in the franchise have such deep respect for each other warms my heart and soul immensely.

Sanders jumping into the duel was a bit of a surprise, mainly because I thought he and the other Academia students were further away from where the duel was taking place. I thought that they were watching the duel from a monitor and the duel was somewhere in the middle of the jungle area instead. I did like Sanders' Fusion monster since it fit extremely well with how he treats BB and his other students. He acts like he can and should control his students with ease, so having a monster with an effect that takes control of BB's monster was quite fitting in that regard.

Sanders bringing up the Professor was interesting. He wanted all of the Lancers eliminated except for Reiji, but he mentioned Yuya specifically. Wanting to spare Reiji was a bit of a surprise since the show hasn't up to this point given the impression that Leo ever cared that much about Reiji. He was perfectly fine with abandoning him all those years ago. He also probably doesn't know about Reira when he was adopted after Leo had gone off to Academia. But he already knew about Yuya and wanted him eliminated. They don't want to card the Yuzu counterparts, but Leo is fine with Yuya being carded. The idea that he is a part of Academia's plans did cause Yuya to understandably freeze up. He was lucky that BB was still shaken up over Sanders taking his monster since that allowed Yuya to grab an Action Card.

Yuya's confusion was understandable. He has known about his counterparts for awhile, they have had significant encounters with each other and there is some darkness within them as well, but he never would have thought that they were still a part of Academia's plans. Yuya has been confused about that darkness within his heart for quite some time too, so something like this would just further intensify those fears and uncertainties. Yuya has never been a violent person and wants to end the war with his entertainment dueling, so being involved with Academia's plan would shake him up quite a bit. I loved how Jack called out to Yuya. It goes back to the lesson from their duel in that you have to have a firm conviction in your dueling and speak through your dueling as well. I love that message so much, especially with the impact it has had on Yuya. Jack helping Yuya to focus on the duel was great and I love their moments together.

Yuya's combination to take down BB's monster was pretty nice. I especially liked how he did it with relatively weak monsters since that reminded me a bit as to how Yuya was able to defeat Jack. BB's deck was still impressive, especially with that new Spell card. I wasn't expecting Yuya to have a brief flashback to the first episode. Seeing even just that small scene of Yuya and Yuzu from the first episode almost made me feel nostalgic. It was simpler times in multiple ways. It seemed like Yuya was able to pick up something from BB's behavior. The way Sanders was getting upset at BB kind of reminded me a bit of Jean and Sergey. Sanders basically wants BB to be his own puppet and do whatever he commands. It's more like a general ordering his soldiers rather than Jean attempting to be a puppet master. The way Sanders treated his students and demands total obedience even after getting his top five students carded was still insane. It was especially sad how none of the students had a problem with this mindset. Your physical, emotional and mental states don't matter to Academia. They just want you to become a robot who brings glory to Academia and these are all children soldiers. They're teenagers, but they're all pretty young teenagers, so they're basically children soldiers. It just further showed how messed up Academia is. BB using that effect on Sanders instead of Yuya was a surprising way to end the episode.

The preview looked pretty good. BB attacking Sanders looked pretty intense and Yuya was still determined to stop him. He doesn't want even a creep like Sanders to be carded, which does fit with his naive and pacifistic attitude. He wants to just stop the war and make people happy through dueling. It's still naive as can be, but I do find that determination in wanting to stop war by making people happy endearing and sweet.
 

Hidden Mew

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I thought that the conclusion to the BB duel was pretty good. I was pretty sure that Sanders would be carded after BB defeated him, but Yuya jumped in to stop him, even though Sanders is a creep who wants to eliminate him. It is naive to want to save your enemies like that, but I think it shows how sweet and gentle Yuya is. He doesn't want anyone to be hurt, including his enemies. It fits with his characterization and goal quite nicely. It also helps to make his Berserk Mode stand out all the more when he's normally such a sweet kid.

The student's reaction to the situation was kind of horrifying though. They were perfectly fine with Sanders being carded and even demanding for it to happen. After all, he did lose a duel and the losers deserve to be carded according to Academia. That way they can still be honorable in defeat and help Academia. It further showed how much this mindset is ingrained in them. It seemed like BB wanted to card him out of revenge, which would have been understandable, but that order to eliminate Yuya or else he wouldn't survive just sent him into shock.

I had a feeling that they were going for an emotional connection between Yuya and BB based on that scene from the previous episode. I didn't think it would be a comparison between BB's fortress and Yuya's goggles. Even though we haven't seen Yuya use his goggles to hide his eyes like that for awhile, I think it still generally worked. They're both emotional reactions that are basically an attempt to hide/downplay their emotional insecurities. Yuya would respond with trying to hide his sadness through both his smile and his goggles, while BB would respond in the opposite end with isolating himself out of fear. Even the way BB was acting more like an animal at first tied into that. Attacking from the shadows was akin to how animals attack out of fear. He became more aggressive once he was out in the open in front of the others and even his motivation to continue the duel was about surviving, so I think that connection generally worked.

At least Yuya was able to survive the effect damage thanks to that Action Card and Jack's Trap. Seeing Jack protecting Yuya was so sweet. I could understand why Yuya would want to just tell the students to stop, but Jack was right in that he couldn't reach them just by shouting at them. They needed to be shaken at their core in order to understand that they're wrong and they could only do so through a duel. Seeing Jack summon out Red Demon Tyrant Dragon again was so cool. BB's new fortress was also neat and helped to further emphasize the whole wanting to hide from others angle they were going with. He was actually inside the fortress this time around and Jack's first Counter Trap did shake him up quite a bit too. At least Jack saved his monster from being destroyed. Yuya's concern for Jack was quite sweet too.

I loved how happy Jack looked when Yuya realized what he needed to do. Yuya's performance was great as always. I loved seeing Yuya's monsters basically throw around paint balloons. It was so hilariously adorable. It also reminded me of how Yuya defeated Jack. He used small and weak monsters, but through the Spell cards he had, they were able to form together to create a huge amount of damage and win the duel. Plus, Yuya's new Hippo was so darn cute and seeing BB's monster join in on the pain balloon action was just fantastic. It's the kind of ridiculously awesome stuff about this series and the franchise in general that I love so much. It works nicely with Yuya's goal too since watching his performances always makes me feel happier.

I actually liked how Yuya was able to reach out to BB and the other Academia students. A lot of fans think that all he needs to do is shout smile and everyone just instantly changes, but that's not the case at all. That's one of the reasons why I don't like the whole eago meme. It can be cute and funny, but often times, I see it being used as a way to belittle Yuya since there's more going on with his performances than just being cute ore telling people to smile. If it was just as simple as Yuya telling people to smile, then he wouldn't have had as nearly as much emotional conflict in both Standard and Synchro. He does entertain his opponents and that is a part of his goal, but I think people generally miss/ignore/downplay that Yuya is also reaching out to people. The reason why his duel with Jack was able to unite the City was because he and Jack were both entertaining and he was finally able to communicate through his dueling. He was able to reach out to the Tyler sisters because he showed them a fun duel for the first time. He was able to reach out to Ed because he could see his swaying heart and wanted to help him by showing him that the duel with smiles philosophy was better than using dueling as a means of war. And reaching out to BB here was clear act of empathy. Yuya could understand BB from an emotional stand point and even with carding his friends and endangering his life, he still wanted to reach out and show BB that dueling can be fun. Yuya has been using dueling as a means of communicating with others and to great effects. It works quite nicely as showcasing his development and how much he is able to reach out to people now.

I can understand why it might not appeal to everyone. It is extremely idealistic and naive, but I never quite understood why people thought that the execution here was a problem. It fits with Yuya's goal, personality and general theme of the show. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but execution wise, it seems perfectly fine to me. It's one of the aspects about Yuya and Arc-V in general that I really like. I love all of the cute imagery, Smile World and Yuya's performances, but seeing what it means for both his character development and how it affects other characters provide a whole new layer to it. I think it also helps that his dueling does generally affect more of the children soldiers more often than the adults. Even after the duel, Sanders was still the same, but all of the children soldiers who most likely never saw a duel that could actually entertain people in their lives were more touched by Yuya's performance.

I thought that BB feeling bad for what he did and apologizing for it after the duel generally worked. He was ultimately another victim of Academia like the other students and was forced to become more like a beast in order to survive. He was basically acting out of fear, so I think that helped to make his regret more believable too. He wasn't a beast like this from the start, but only as a result from Sanders' attempt to create the ultimate weapon for Academia. He was a scared kid trying to act like an animal just to survive. It also really helped that Yuya didn't forgive him completely, or at least I didn't get that impression. He said that BB returned to his true self, but that didn't make his actions instantly okay or forgivable. Yuya was still clearly heartbroken over losing both Crow and Tsukikage. BB regretting his actions didn't make that less painful, so it wasn't like Yuya and BB have become the best of friends as a result of this duel. He was able to empathize with BB and was happy that he returned to his true self, but that was about it.

I was so relieved when Jack didn't get carded. I was really worried about that after what happened to Crow. It was kind of strange that they stayed behind, but with Gongenzaka being injured and Sawatari having a broken Duel Disk, they would have a hard time keeping up with Yuya and Jack being there would offer more protection. They were setting up for future events with Ruri going off to find help for Shun and Serena being there, but it did feel kind of sudden. Reiji's group running into Yusho also feel too jarring since we didn't see how their meeting was after learning how much Reiji admired Yusho. One would think that they'd make a bigger deal out of their reunion. Yuri showing up to stop them was a good way to end the episode.

The preview looked pretty nice. Yuri vs. Asuka sounds like a good duel, but seeing Asuka tackle Yuri was way more appealing to me than I thought it would be.
 

Hidden Mew

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I thought that Yuri vs. Asuka was pretty good. Yusho thinking that Yuri was Yuya was kind of weird when he didn't have that reaction to Yugo, but to be fair, it was most likely due to Yuri looking and sounding a lot like Yuya. Their voices are distinct from each other, but Yusho mistaking Yuri for Yuya just based on that would be reasonable. Asuka tackling Yuri was way more satisfying than I thought it would be and giving the others a chance to escape was good. Reiji showing more concern for Reira was nice and it was good that Sora helped them out. It was too bad that Sora couldn't join in the duel. While it wouldn't have much emotional weight to it due to the two of them just meeting, a tag duel with Sora and Asuka would have been awesome. It might not have changed the outcome, but it would have been a cool sight at least.

I liked that Yuri mentioned that Asuka was an honor student at Academia and would defeat any boys who were trying to court her. That does fit in nicely with how she was in GX and as much as I love romantic fluff, I also kind of like it when characters, especially girls, just flat out say that they aren't interested in romance for some reason too. Yuri wanting Asuka to choose which deck he used fits with how much of a hammy troll he is. While his decision to go with the honor student deck was a pretty blatant plug for the Ancient Gear deck, at least it fits with Yuri's personality do something like that, so it doesn't feel so out of place, or at least not as much as it could be otherwise. Plus, with the reveal that Asuka was an honor student before leaving Academia, I kind of like that it does show that both she and Yuri are around equal strength in universe.

The duel was pretty good. I liked seeing Asuka's new Ritual monsters, even though the lack of a traditional close up upon shouting Ritual summon was a tad disappointing. Maybe they wanted to make it different from the other summoning chants in that regards. She still had a pretty good opening move. Not only did she gain some life points, but she was able to set up a barrier that protected her monsters. Yuri not knowing how to use his new deck was clearly an act, but again, it fits with his hammy villain persona. Plus, it would throw Asuka off and potentially give her a false sense of security by thinking he'd make some huge mistakes. She even thought he made a mistake by destroying the Spell card when that was really part of a combo to bring out Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon. Granted, it was obviously not the ace monster when it wasn't a Fusion monster, but it showed that he knew what he was doing at least. It was interesting how Yuri was so excited for Asuka to start her turn and we cut to both Yuya and Yugo wanting to hurry as well for their own goals.

Asuka being able to take Reactor Dragon was pretty cool. Yuri's reaction was interesting in that he compared Asuka taking away his monster to stealing students from Academia. He obviously doesn't care about the students, but he might care about how it affects Academia and/or its mission. Asuka was able to brush off that by pointing out that Academia has taken many precious people from them away as well. Asuka was so close to winning there. If it wasn't for Yuri's trap card, then she could have won the duel.

I really liked how Asuka was so determined to not use Polymerization and to not let Yuri use it as well. It really showed how strong her conviction was and probably the reason why she runs a Ritual deck now. She knows what people have done with Polymerization and Fusion monsters, so she doesn't want anything to do with that card anymore. It was a good strategy, especially for someone like Asuka who would still have Polymerization in her deck and would be facing off against Academia students. Destroying Polymerization like that would drastically weaken Yuri's deck and deal him damage at the same time. Plus. Yuri's expression kind of reminded me of Judai's expression when Misawa prevented him from using Polymerization back in GX as well. That might be a stretch on my part, but I do love these small subtle nods to previous series. It's a nice way to make Arc-V feel like a celebration of the franchise as a whole.

Yuri losing his monster and Polymerization seemed to affect him more than I thought it would, especially when he wasn't his own deck or his own ace monster. It did allow for Asuka to reach out to him. She probably thought that now he knew what it was like to lose something important to him, they could reach some kind of understanding. It was pretty neat to get more information on Yuri's backstory. He didn't have any parents and could only connect to people through dueling, but eventually became so powerful that people were afraid of him. That still kind of reminds me of what happened to Judai when he was a kid. The circumstances were widely different, but Judai didn't have a lot of friends growing up either because of how people dueling him often got injured due to Yubel. It seemed like Yuri was a bit jealous of Asuka. She was an honor student, but people liked her instead of afraid of her strength. He might have just accepted that people were afraid of him, which would be hard for a little kid to deal with. It seemed that the Professor was the only one to reach out to Yuri during that time, which would definitely impact his mindset and carding people after being afraid of him for so long probably appealed to Yuri as well.

It was so obvious that Yuri wasn't going to change though. They were playing it up so much that there had to be a twist. Plus, there was still a good chuck of time left in the episode by that time. As I have said and will continue to say, Yuri is a hammy troll as well, so of course he'll pull a Vector in that he'll make someone think that he really feels sadness only to laugh in their face instead. He didn't even care about being all alone since that means that he'd be the strongest duelist out there. Yuri using Super Polymerization was a surprise and a huge nod to GX as well. That was a huge card back during GX and knowing how it was used in that series does make its presence here feel more unsettling. Yuri revealing that he was acting the entire time and had Super Polymerization from the start wasn't surprising. I will admit that Ancient Gear Ultimate Golem looked pretty cool. At least Yuri acting that he knew how to use the deck meant that he didn't beat Asuka with a deck he never used before. That would have made the situation more painful.

It was clear that Asuka was going to lose, but seeing her be carding, while also not unexpected, was so disappointing. It was sad, but mainly because I wanted to see Asuka do more cool stuff. She shined quite nicely during both of her duels. Even though she lost, she still had some cool moments and strategy that showed how she is a determined character and tough duelist, but she needed more screentime for something like this to be emotionally effective. It worked with Crow because he was introduced much earlier in the series, we got to know more about this version of Crow and he basically sacrificed himself to save Sawatari. Asuka was sacrificed to further hype up Yuri and the Ancient Gear deck, which was really not needed. It's possible that they couldn't get Asuka's voice actress for too long, which would explain why she didn't have too many lines in most of her appearances. I think it's also a combination of when she was introduced and how the cast is rather big. When Asuka was introduced, it was around the start of the Xyz arc, but the bulk of the attention for that arc was placed on Yuya, Ed and other characters within Heartland. There were episodes centered in Fusion, but not too many, so that would put Asuka in a clear disadvantage. Once the rest of the characters ended up in Fusion, there were other plot points and characters that they needed to focus on, which would make it harder for Asuka to get more attention. It's especially tricky now when they're at Academia and thus would need to focus on the situation with the counterparts since that's a key part of the show's storyline.

It is shame since I love the show and Asuka returning was such a surprising development. It is disappointing how she was handled, but I'd still say that she wasn't a waste or anything like that. She did play an important role in both rescuing Yuzu and being one of Yusho's prominent students, but she was not handled nearly as well as she could have. Fortunately, I don't think she was the only returning character who wasn't handled well. While Kaito has gotten more screentime and duels, his development was more tell than show. I say fortunately because that way Asuka isn't the odd character out or that it's only because she's the only returning female character as the fans do tend to put female characters under a microscope more so than any male character. I'd almost be tempted to say it's in part due to the director being more familiar with the 5D's characters than any of the other series, which could be a factor, but Ed has been handled quite well in my opinion, so I'm not sure if that would play a huge role in that department.

I just hope that there was also a good reason why Gongenzaka and Sora got saved from being carded and the same couldn't happen to Asuka. Part of it could be not having the voice actress for that long and having quite a few other characters to focus on. Some may say that the cast is too big and I could understand that, especially when that is a problem that can happen to other series in this franchise, but I'm not sure if I'd say it's too big. It's more like they do have a full plate of characters to focus on, so that can be a tricky balancing act, especially when they are starting to head towards the Leo. I like Gongenzaka and I've even grown to like Sora more than I thought I would, so I'm glad that they aren't carded, but it's just a shame that Asuka couldn't be saved too.

The preview looked pretty good. We get to see Yuya meeting Ruri and even flashbacks to events before the Heartland Invasion, so that's neat.
 

Hidden Mew

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I thought that the first part of Yuya vs. Ruri and Serena was pretty good. I liked how happy Yuya sounded when he first saw Ruri and thought it was Yuzu. Ruri's hair is longer, but that is something that could easily be changed and she does look like Yuzu the most out of her counterparts too. It was also nice that Yuto sounded so relieved to see Ruri and was talking to her through Yuya. I completely forgot that Yuya didn't know that Shun was in Academia. So much has happened since they arrived that I didn't factor that detail in. Too bad that the Doctor took over Ruri's mind before they could help Shun. Ruri talking about how she wanted to duel and turn Yuya into a card was a pretty obvious sign that she was possessed.

The duel itself was pretty good. I kind of liked that Yuto's desire to save Ruri was so strong that his deck appeared in place of Yuya's. I love Yuya's deck, but it was fitting for Yuto to want to use his deck in order to save Ruri and it helps to give their connection a bit more weight to it if his deck can just appear like that. Yuya and Yuto speaking together to reach out to Ruri was nice too. Calling back to Ruri inspiring Yuto with the whole dueling with smiles also helped to make that connection feel more sincere rather than forced in like it was back in that flashback.

I was definitely expecting a bigger reaction from Yuto upon seeing Ruri fusion summon. He even said back when Shun thought that Yuzu was Ruri that Ruri would never use Fusion monsters and seeing one of his closest friends using a weapon from their enemies would be a big shock in general. Ruri's Fusion monster was pretty neat, even though I could have done without the fanservice-like shots around it. They were able to figure out that the Parasite was controlling Ruri and defeating Ruri to free her would make sense, but as Shun pointed out when he appeared, that isn't enough to free Ruri from the Doctor's control.

Yuya playing those two Trap cards to stop Ruri's attack was pretty neat. The new Xyz monster he summoned was pretty cool and Shun looked so happy to see more of Yuto's cards. Phantom Knights Cursed Javelin had a pretty handy effect as well. Shun going off to find the Doctor made sense, but I wasn't expecting Serena to show up and shock Shun. That was surprisingly brutal. Shun was already injured and struggled just to get to Yuya, so being hit with an electrical taser was definitely not good for him in that shape. I suppose that they needed some way to get Shun out of the scene without going to the Doctor or joining in the duel, but that was intense and sudden.

Serena having another Parasite Fusioner made sense given that all of the girls seemingly had that, but it was also kind of weird when she already runs a Fusion deck. Parasite Queen did look pretty cool and the summoning chant was nice. It was able to counter Yuya's monster quite well and she had nice teamwork with Ruri, even though teamwork might not really fit for something like this when they're being controlled by the same person. Yuya trying to reach out to Serena made sense. He knows how much she wouldn't want to be involved with Academia and would want to fight back instead, but she threw a curve ball with claiming that she knew about her past and still wanted to be with Academia. It was obviously a lie, but it would make Yuya question himself a bit if Serena claims that she wanted to fight with Academia.

I felt so bad for Yuya when they said that Yuzu had a parasite in her mind too. He was absolutely crushed and could barely speak. He cares for Yuzu so deeply and has been trying to save her for quite some time, so the idea that she'd be brainwashed into fighting with Academia would just break his heart. It also doesn't help that at this point, they don't know if they can save the girls from being brainwashed. Ed told Yugo before that defeating the Doctor would cut off the mind control, but Yuya doesn't know that right now and even defeating them in a duel wouldn't save them, so it would make the situation feel even more hopeless. It's no wonder that Yuya went into a Berserk Mode. After all of his struggles to find Yuzu and how he does not handle losing people particularly well, hearing that she has been brainwashed would push him over the edge.

I wasn't expecting Yuya and Yuto to switch places though. That reminded me of what happens in the Arc-V manga, but I think that Yuto was just projecting himself over Yuya rather that taking over his body if that makes any sense. There is a purple outline around Yuto when he takes over and the monitor that the Professor was watching showed Yuya instead of Yuto. Granted. the latter could just be an animation error, but it does seem pretty suspicious. Ruri was the only one to react to the change, possibly implying that she could see or sense Yuto in Yuya, while Serena didn't react at all. It could have been like an upgrade version of what happened when Yuya first dueled against Ed. Instead of just having his eyes show up, he was able to project his entire body over Yuya's. It might have also helped that he didn't force control this time around and he didn't cause Yuya any pain.

The flashbacks for Yuto and Ruri while he was summoning Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon were cute. It was kind of strange that Yuto didn't know that Shun and Ruri were related at first, mainly because it made me question how long they had known each other if he didn't even know that Shun had a sister. It also made me wonder how long they were friends before the invasion happened. I always assumed that Yuto and Ruri were childhood friends much like with most of the other counterparts, but they don't look significantly younger in those flashbacks. Even though I don't care much for either Yuto or Ruri, they were surprisingly cute together. The flashbacks actually did give their relationship more weight and context. It's not huge and they took far too long to do more with their relationship, but for what it was, it was pretty effective. It was basically cute fluff, but I like cute fluff and it still worked. It showed that they did care about each other, that they pretty much liked each other right from the start and showed them being happy together before the war. It also helped to give Ruri a bit more personality with her reasoning behind her deck.

It kind of amazes me how more effective these flashbacks were compared to what they did for Shun vs. Ruri. I can actually believe that there is a connection between Yuto and Ruri, which is more than I can say for Shun and Ruri. That episode didn't really use its time effectively and all it showed through its flashbacks was that Shun always had a bit of a temper. The flashbacks here aren't amazing and it still took them way too long to focus on their relationship, but it's a better use of their time and it's overall more effective and believable as a result. It also made me realize what the Xyz trio really lack is insight into their lives prior to the war. It makes sense that the Invasion and dimensional war would be a huge part for their characters. They basically lost their homes and most everyone they care about, but not knowing more about their lives prior to the Heartland Invasion does kind of limit them in a sense.

I liked how both Yuya and Yuto were so determined to defeat the Doctor after the duel. Ending the episode on brainwashed Yuzu was so creepy. A part of me was hoping that they were just lying about her being brainwashed, but it did happen. It was sad because Yuzu was trying so hard to fight against Academia, but she ended up being controlled like the others. The preview looked pretty good. Showing brainwashed Yuzu to Yuya would certainly enrage him into an intense Berserk Mode.
 

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I thought that the conclusion of Yuya vs. Ruri and Serena was pretty good. The new opening and ending themes were pretty nice. It took me a bit of time for Pendulum Beat to grow on me. It's no Light of Hope, but it has some good visuals, a catchy beat and it really picks up during the chorus. I especially liked seeing Yuya perform with Odd Eyes Raging Dragon. It looked cool and I liked that it was basically taking something that was originally as destructive, as with how Yuya has used the card within the show thus far, and turn it into something hopeful. That's basically a visual representation of the show's theme of finding hope within despair. The Smile World imagery while Yuya performs in front of all of the characters is awesome too. The ending theme is a lot more laid back than I thought it would be and it is really nice to see the counterparts interacting with each other. It almost felt nostalgic to see Yuya and Yuzu in Standard. It does feel jarring to end some of the episodes with such an upbeat song, but I like it.

Yuto was doing a pretty good job against Ruri and Serena. He was moving pretty much exactly like Yuya, which still made me think he was projecting his body over Yuya's. There was a nice bit of back and forth motion with their attacks due to Parasite Queen's effect. Yuto was so sure that he could destroy Parasite Queen only for Serena to keep saving it with that effect. Using the Parasite Fusioner attached to Dark Rebellion to save it from destruction and cause some damage was a pretty nice move on Yuto's part.

They were really going all out on Parasite Fusioners for this duel. It made sense given Parasite Queen's effect since having so many of those cards available made it stronger, but it did feel kind of strange to not do a bit more with Ruri's deck at least or so something from Serena's deck possessed by Parasite Fusioner. At least Yuto was able to save Dark Rebellion and reduce the damage again, even though the attack still looked pretty brutal. The way Yuya got back in control also made it likely that Yuto just projecting his form over Yuya. They both had the same facial expressions even as they were changing back. I was so worried when I saw the parasite on Yuya's shoulder. I didn't expect that to happen. It was really cool to see Yuya and Serena run after an Action Card. It showed that Serena is also pretty good at Action Duels. Plus, I have missed seeing characters chase after Action Cards like that.

Seeing the parasite get into Yuya's mind was so horrifying. Everything from seeing the parasite attach itself to Yuya's brain and seeing him collapse was just so nerve racking. At least that means that the girls didn't have an operation against their will like I imagined before, but that isn't much less terrifying. The darkness within Yuya crushing the parasite did prevent him from becoming another one of the Doctor's puppets, but that whole sequence was still so unsettling.

While we only saw a bit of Yuri vs. Sora, I was okay with that. It could have been neat to see the whole duel, but since they had Asuka lose partly to hype up Yuri up and we'll get more of that with some of the later episodes, I didn't think we needed to see all of the match. Yugo and Ed showing up did prevent Sora from being carded. I do like that, even though it feels kind of weird to say that when I disliked him for so long, but at least we didn't have two duels in a row where Yuri carded off established characters.

It was pretty cool to see Yuya destroy those Parasite Fusioners and get Odd-Eyes on the field at the same time. Serena and Ruri were relying heavily on the Parasite Fusioners, but given Parasite Queen's effect, it made sense. It was a surefire way to power it up and they had extra protection with their Trap Cards. The Doctor was such a creep though. He only talked to Yuya just to twist his heart with brainwashed Yuzu and to claim that he'd be destroyed at the end of the duel. I felt so bad for Yuya. Seeing Yuzu brainwashed like that just broke his heart. The only thing that could have made it worse would be if Yuzu had talked to him during that scene, which I'm kind of surprised didn't happen.

I liked how even the Parasite Fusioners were afraid as Yuya was going into his Berserk Mode. Even they could tell that something dangerous was happening and it was a pretty intense Berserk Mode. I was surprised that Yuya summoned out an Xyz monster rather than a Fusion one, if only because we already have a special Odd-Eyes Xyz monster, but I was okay with that. Odd-Eyes Raging Dragon has an awesome design and a pretty cool summoning chant. It's effect was so broken though. Granted, part of that is because of how many monsters there were on the field, but it gains two hundred points for every card destroyed, negates the effect of Spells and Traps and can attack twice in one turn. It was pretty cool and they needed to find a way for Yuya to win in one turn, but it does come off like a broken card. That final attack was so intense with Yuya's face coming through in the flames and just the impact it had on Serena and Ruri. I thought that they'd fly right out of the building given the hole and the power behind that attack.

Poor Yuya looked so tired when he got out of his Berserk Mode. I was hope that he'd be able to talk to Serena and Ruri before they were possessed again, but I guess that the Doctor kept his control over them right away this time. Shun was still knocked out, even though they really do need all the help they can get, and Yuya was captured. It was so sad to see him trying so desperately to reach out to Yuzu. At least Yusho, Reiji and Reira finally got to Leo and Yuya finally got to see his father again.

The preview looked pretty good. Leo revealing more about the four dimensions sounds interesting and at least he acknowledged that he messed up due to the Pandora's Box comment too.
 

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I thought that the first half of Reiji's group confronting Leo was really good. I can understand why Yugo wanted to face off against Yuri. He has wanted to get revenge for Yuri kidnapping Rin, but leaving Ed to go after the Doctor instead felt a tad weird. Defeating the Doctor was seemingly the only way to save Rin and that would matter more to Yugo than Rin. Plus, one would think that Yugo's desire to save Rin would be stronger than his desire to give Yuri some payback, but it's still not out of character for Yugo at the same time. He is rather reckless and impulsive, so he would want to get Yuri after chasing after him this whole time and it does still come back to Rin in the end. Not to mention that they obviously have to duel to get their dragons out on the field. It just felt a tad strange given the setup.

The fact that Yuya didn't know Reiji prior to the series still amazes me due to Yusho's connection to Leo. Yusho even said flat out that he still was happy that he met Leo because their encounter led to the creation of Action Duels and the Entertainment Duelist Yusho Sakaki. It doesn't sound like they only met briefly, especially when Yusho was willing to travel through dimensions all by himself just to talk to Leo. It really seems like Yuya should have known about Leo and Reiji before the series began with that setup, although that could have caused more problems for Yuya if that did happen based on what Leo reveals later on in the episode. Yusho's attempt to reach out to Leo did show why he felt so strongly about talking to Leo all by himself. The fact that he felt so grateful to Leo even knowing what he was doing in the other dimensions says how much he valued their friendship. It was still pretty reckless and headstrong to just jump right into the untested dimensional transporter, especially without telling his family about it, but I imagine Yusho was expecting to land in Fusion right away, talk to Leo and then both of them heading back home afterwards.

Learning more about the original world was pretty interesting. It made sense that they wanted to use Solid Vision for business and home uses first. Combining it with Duel Monsters also made sense given the importance that the game has in its universe. It also fits with how the Solid Vision has advanced the game in this series. It allowed people to create new ways to duel and giving the monsters mass while still controlling them would make the duels more exciting, especially when the Solid Vision made them look so realistic.

Zarc's spiral down to destruction was quite interesting. At first, he reminded me of Yuya, especially when he was running alongside his monsters. He was even riding Odd Eyes Dragon in the same way Yuya was in the first episode. But then the crowd got way too excited and demanded more violent displays after that accident and Zarc seemed perfectly fine with it. He was shocked at first, but he seemingly had no problem with meeting the demands of the audience. Even before he got the other dragons, Zarc was so out of control. I'm pretty sure he murdered someone during that montage since there was a shot of someone coughing up blood or an organ. It was pretty brutal and the fact that the crowd demanded it was pretty unsettling. It did fit as a reference to the Synchro dimension and the original world seemed to have elements of pretty much all of the four dimensions to varying degrees, but way too many people were just in favor of more violent duels after what appeared to be just an accident.

Yugo vs. Yuri seemed to be just about getting their dragons out on the field, but that made sense. They needed to get their dragons out in order to tie in with Leo's explanation on what happened in the original world. Plus, they would want to get their strongest monsters out in order to go all out against each other. Reira being able to sense the anger was interesting, especially when I don't know if he was referring to Yuri or his dragon. I felt so bad for Yuya. It looked like he was having a heart attack and struggling to breathe while the darkness what trying to take over him. It was so sad and intense. It was pretty neat to see Ed and Kaito together again, but it was too bad that Shun was too injured to help out.

It was amazing how Zarc's desire for destruction was the direct result of the crowds not being satisfied with their violent duels. It definitely gave off some social commentary vibes since the demand for violence created a monster. Granted, Zarc didn't have to go that far and I do hope we'll get to see his side of the story at some point, especially when Leo wouldn't know the full story on Zarc aside from what he saw, but I'd still say that the crowd has some fault here. If they didn't push for more violent duels from Zarc, then none of that destruction would probably happen. They obviously didn't think he would go as far as to destroy the world, but when you act as if violence is the best form of entertainment and you see how Zarc's duels became progressively worse, seeing him unleash his rage on the crowd shouldn't be that surprising. Even Zarc said that he was doing what they wanted him to do in that he kept getting stronger and stronger with more intense violence behind them.

Seeing Zarc attack the stadium was still pretty intense though and his gleefully attitude towards the destruction did remind me of Yuri. I haven't seen much of Yuto or Yugo in Zarc yet. The fact that Zarc could hear the voices of his dragons was interesting and tied into the idea that Duel Monsters have souls that Leo dismissed while doing his research on Solid Vision. Having their souls forced into bodies that they couldn't control on their own at first and being forced to fight would enrage them. Hearing them in pain as they fought might have also had an impact on Zarc. I really wonder how Pendulum summon fits into this backstory though. Zarc had a regular Odd-Eyes Dragon in the flashback, but there was something similar to Yuya's Pendulum necklace in the background. The Magician Zarc used to merge with his dragons also looked similar to Timegazer and Stargazer. I'm sure that Pendulum summon does fit somewhere within this backstory, especially when Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon still reacts to the others dragons despite being altered into a Pendulum card.

The destruction of the original world was pretty intense. It was interesting how regular weapons couldn't hurt the dragons. It made sense given that they're the souls of monsters given solid forms, but I thought it was an interesting way to explain why dueling had to be the answer, especially when people often still complain about how everything in this franchise is resolved through dueling instead of anything else. It was pretty similar to the Heartland Invasion given that only duelists could face off against Supreme Dragon King Zarc. I always thought that Odd-Eyes Rebellion's full name was a reference to Supreme King Judai from GX and that probably was at least a factor, but it was also foreshadowing Zarc's ultimate form. The foreshadowing in Arc-V is just amazingly on point.

Yuya looked like he was in so much pain when the darkness was taking over him and the other counterparts. At least Ed and Kaito seemed to be okay after he broke out of the cage, but it was pretty intense. This flashback did explain as to why Yuya and his counterparts want to become one again. They must remember what it was like to have all of that power as Supreme Dragon King Zarc and want to return to that god-like state. The whole story was affecting Reira quite a bit, possibly due to his experience with the other war, and it even flustered Reiji enough to dismiss it as a myth, even though Leo was pretty clear that it all did happen and that the original world was destroyed by Zarc.

The preview looked pretty good. We got to see Ray earlier than expected. She showed up in this episode, but only for a couple of shots and we didn't see her face until the preview. Learning more about what happened to the original world sounds interesting.
 

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I thought that the second half of Reiji's group confronting Leo was really good. I was happy that Yuya was able to escape, even though he knocked Ed and Kaito out in the process. It was really nice to see Yuya reunite with Yusho. It was a bit short, but given everything else that they needed to cover in this episode, it made sense and it was still an emotional reunion. They were both happy beyond belief to see each other, Yuya sounded so happy to see Yusho again through his tears and they had a nice hug too. It was a nice moment that showed how much they cared about each other. Yusho even mentioned to Leo that his son was crying and that he didn't want Leo to hurt the children anymore. I thought that was sweet, especially when it does recognize that the cast here is primarily full of children. They're teenagers, but young teenagers. Yuya should still be fourteen unless the passage of time is different between each dimension and they are basically in a war. They'll still fight of course, but it was a nice way to recognize that they are still kids even with everything they've been doing within the series.

I was expecting the Doctor to get a duel or something, but I was okay with him being carded. His determination on learning all he could about the parasites did sound similar to how Leo was when he first created Real Solid Vision and given that he was recounting how that attitude led to the original world's destruction, Leo would get upset and be more willing to card someone who thought like that. I kind of wish that happened to Jean more than the Doctor, if only because Jean was much more of a scumbag, but it was a quick and easy way to get rid of the Doctor and free the girls at the same time. Some people might have been upset that we didn't get Yuya vs. brainwashed Yuzu, but I'm okay that didn't happen. As much as I would have loved to see Yuzu duel again, I don't think I would have wanted them to go that far with brainwashing her and adding parasites to her deck. The duel between them would be immensely heartbreaking, but I don't know what we'd get out of it story or character wise either. While I wasn't a fan of the decision to brainwash the Yuzu counterparts in the first place, it did help to flesh out both Rin and Ruri a bit, give a bit more context to their relationships with Yugo and Yuto respectively, which was especially needed for Yuto and Ruri, and showcase a bit of their decks. We have seen Yuya and Yuzu's relationship throughout the series and we have already seen her deck. I want to see Yuzu duel again, but not to the point of seeing her brainwashed for it. The whole brainwashing plot point is still important for the reasons I mentioned before and because that's how Yuzu was captured by Academia in the first place, but I am kind of glad that we didn't get Yuya vs. brainwashed Yuzu. At least the girls were back to normal. They were still trapped, but they weren't brainwashed puppets anymore and it was sweet how both Yuya and Yuzu were happy to see each other again.

Leo using the forces of nature to counter Zarc was kind of strange. The reasoning kind of made sense given how nature has survived disasters and hardships only to live on for countless years, but it seemed like an odd jump to use nature as the source of new cards. I did like how the powers came down to flowers, moon, wind and birds since that's what the names of the Yuzu counterparts translate into. It's even referenced within the current opening, so that was a nice touch. While we didn't get a lot of Ray here, she did come off as honorable and determined by stopping her father. She cared about her father a lot if she thought that sacrificing herself would be better than being in a future without him. Leo wanted to sacrifice himself to atone for his mistakes, but she only saw it as losing her father and the world losing a smart person who would help them through the future. Granted, she basically does end up in a future without him by doing this, but she does care about him and thought that the world would be better with him still there instead of her.

It was pretty cool to see Ray split Zarc apart. She had no fear and was completely determined during the entire scene. Zarc had the Yuya counterparts' voices when he was split up and the color scheme that Ray split into was also a nice reference to the first opening where Yuya was on four cards with the same colors. I think that the universe had a soft reboot after the split happened. Even with some twists in other episodes, I imagine that each dimension has its own history and timeline of key events, especially when Leo doesn't look significantly younger in the flashbacks. I imagine that the split happened about fourteen years prior to the start of the series and I suppose that there are traces of history well past that point. It's possible that other people have memories of the original world deep within their memories, but I doubt that. Leo was standing right where the split happened and there were kids playing around him as if nothing had happened. No one else knew about the dimensions until the war started either, so it most likely was just Leo.

Leo was working on a DM era duel disk, which was a pretty nice nod to the series and the fact that Standard is suppose to represent that series. It does make me wonder if there were alternate universe DM characters in Standard at one point or another though. That did lead to Real Solid Vision existing in Standard, as well as the introduction of the other summoning methods since Leo still had those memories of the original world at the time. It might also explain why Yuya and his friends had a harder time mastering other summoning methods if they were fairly new to their world and tribute summoning was the standard, pun intended, types of decks within their world. It would make sense when even the Champion Strong's ace monster was a tribute summoned monster. Leo regaining more of his memories and wanting to see if Ray was still alive made sense. He was seemingly the only other person there when she confronted Zarc, so it's believable that he'd eventually be able to get his memories back. And since he was still alive, it stood to reason that Ray could still be alive as well.

It made sense that Serena was the first counterpart that he found since he started the war after taking over Academia. The backstory also explained why there are both Yuya and Yuzu counterparts in each dimension. Yuya and his counterparts being reincarnations of Zarc made sense, even though it was hard for the characters to hear. We had more foreshadowing for Zarc than we did for Ray, but that made sense as well. Zarc was a demon when he was split apart while Ray was seemingly a normal person, so the Yuzu counterparts wouldn't have something akin to a Berserk Mode. Plus, we couldn't learn about Ray's name beforehand when Leo was the only person with knowledge of the original world and her existence. Not to mention Ray's name would have made this twists less satisfying and more predictable. Most fans had already figured that Yuya and his counterparts were a demon beforehand due to the Berserk Mode, so I think too much more foreshadowing would have potentially weakened this revelation. I also think that we have a pretty good justification as to why we couldn't learn about this earlier. Leo is the only one who remembers the original world, was the only person there when it was split apart to four dimensions and they obviously couldn't confront him before they got to Academia. Yeah, we got a ton of plot explained within a couple of episodes, but it was handled well, had some good twists and justified it through Leo.

The rest of Leo's plan was pretty intense though. He used Academia to card people in order to use their life energy to create a new dimension called Arc-V. Now that was an unexpected but cool title drop. I always thought that the title was a reference to different parts of the various dimensions, like Academia, Rebellion and City, although I don't know what the V would refer to in that case, but it was still neat to hear the title used within the show like that. It also explained more on the term Revival Zero since Leo wants to reset everything again to fix his mistake and get Ray back.

While Leo's desire to get his daughter back makes sense and it does make him much more interesting than I thought he could be at this point, he has basically become Zarc 2.0 now. He already destroyed one dimension and is an active threat to the rest of them. He might actually be worse than Zarc at this point since merging the different dimensions would ruin countless more lives than what Zarc did in the original world. He most likely doesn't see the different dimensions as the real world or the people within it worth caring about since they aren't from the original world like he is. That is an interesting conflict since the viewers can't really share that mindset. We have seen all four dimensions throughout the series. They have their own culture, their own attitudes about dueling, their own histories and are all full of people with their own lives. Leo sees them as mere stepping stones to get his world back, but the audience can't really do that because of how much time has been spent focusing on the characters throughout this series. They aren't just mistakes because of the world being reset. They have their own lives and desires. It's exactly how he sees the Yuzu counterparts too. He doesn't see them as four individuals who had their own childhoods and made connections with other people, but rather he sees them as pieces of Ray that he needs to put together in order to get Ray back. It is an interesting position where the audience can understand where the villain is coming from, but can't agree with him. It might also explain a bit as to why Leo was mainly in the shadows for the series. He was just waiting for the chance to get his world back. Granted, I think the point was to also save him for just when they got to Academia, but not wanting to get involved with the fighting himself because he doesn't value the other dimensions beyond being stepping stones would work too. These couple of episodes did wonders for Leo's character as far as I'm concerned. I don't think he'd rank up that high among villains for me, at least based on how I feel about him now, but it did give him a lot more depth and interesting conflict than I thought he would get.

He even went so far as to ask Reiji to side with him because he knew how dangerous Yuya can be as a piece of Zarc. He didn't even care that he abandoned Reiji, how that affected him or what it did to Himika. He just expected Reiji to come to his side. He may love Ray, but Leo is still a pretty awful father to Reiji. Say what you will about Yusho, but he's a much better father than Leo is. I don't like that he rushed off to face Leo without talking to his family about it, but at least he didn't intend to be gone that long. He figured it would be a quick trip with both he and Leo returning. It was still reckless and naive, but at least he didn't basically abandon his family on purpose and we saw how much he cares about Yuya through their reunion. Leo just abandoned his new family after he remembered Ray, which is pretty hard for Reiji to hear when he already has issues with his father to begin with. Plus, it's kind of messed up that Leo thought that Reiji would just come to his side with absolutely no problem after all this time to help save his sister, who he didn't know he had and is basically no more than a ghost to him at this point.

Leo said that Yuya could only be sealed off through a duel, which makes sense give that Zarc's powers came from duel monsters. I liked how Yuzu instantly defended Yuya, but still thought back to what happened in the Synchro dimension. I also really liked how Yuya reacted to this claim that he was a demon reborn. He clearly didn't want to believe it and was focusing on how he wants to make people smile through his dueling, but you could see him sweating, hear the doubt in his voice and see the sadness in his eyes. It was an effective way to show how much the whole story hurt Yuya a lot, especially when it is hard to deny this claim at this point for him. Yuya has known about this darkness within him for quite some time. It's one reason why I genuinely love how he does want to make people happy since it works as a great contrast to this darkness within him and I honestly do find his determination to duel with smiles in spite of that darkness within inspiring at times. Even with knowing all of that, he still wouldn't want to see himself as a demon duelist. Reiji coming over to defend Yuya was pretty nice though. He did see how he brought peace in the Synchro dimension and heard of what he did in the Xyz dimension, so he'd know that Yuya isn't the kind of person who wants to create destruction. Granted, they could have focused more on Reiji watching Yuya's actions on the dimensions than they did, but it's still pretty believable and does help to give their friendship a bit more weight to it. I couldn't quite buy why Yuya suddenly had faith in Reiji at the end of the Synchro arc, but I have an easier time with Reiji believing in Yuya due to what he has seen of him, if only because Reiji watching on the sideline and seeing how Yuya's actions affect people around him generally works as a way for Reiji to believe in Yuya.

It was also pretty cool to see Reiji being upset at his father and pointing out that is is the one disturbing the peace of the four dimensions. Like I said before, he's basically Zarc 2.0 and doing even more damage than Zarc could due to four dimensions as opposed to one are being in danger. I was so glad that even with Leo's motivation being understandable, they didn't try to make him sympathetic or undermine his actions. I was worried that they'd try to do that or give him some redeemable qualities, but I'm glad that didn't happen. It would have felt forced after all of the destruction he's responsible for and having Reiji call him out on that was pretty satisfying. It was a pretty cool way to lead into a Yuya and Reiji tag duel against Leo.

The preview looked pretty good. A Yuya vs. Reiji tag duel sounds pretty cool, even though it will be a struggle for Yuya to work through his Berserk Mode.
 
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